MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) - The Mobile County District Attorney's Office said Mobile police have made an arrest in the beating of Matthew Owens.
Authorities said the suspect is 44-year-old Terry Rawls. They said he is charged with first degree assault.
Rawls had nothing to say when asked about what happened last Saturday night. That's when Matthew Owens was severely beaten by an unknown amount of people. Cpl. Chris Levy with Mobile police said this wasn't the first run-in between the two.
"This is an incident from an ongoing dispute between neighbors, is what this is. We have a neighborhood. We have Mr. Owens and Mr. Rawls, who have a history of disputes which goes back to 2009," said Cpl. Levy.
Levy said racial slurs have been exchanged in the past and in the most recent incident. As far as a claim that this had anything to do with the Trayvon Martin incident in Florida, Levy said it's not true.
"I'm 100 percent certain that Trayvon Martin is not a motivating factor in this incident. We don't actually have anything that says that happened," said Levy.
Police said they believe there could be more arrests as the investigation continues.
Police said Owens was beaten severely with bats, bricks and a paint can. The attack happened on Saturday, April 21 in the evening on Delmar Drive in Mobile.
Mobile Mayor Sam Jones urged the public to not jump to conclusions.
"Wait for the facts, as far as we're concerned right now. But, I would caution people to not jump to conclusions right now. This is really very divisive in communities throughout the country, and I don't think we have any reason to be divisive here because I don't see any evidence of that," said Jones.
Jones said he is shocked with the national attention this crime has gotten.
"It's really been blown out of proportion, and I would just caution people not to be a part of threat," said Jones.
"This case remains under investigation and one could expect that more arrests are likely as MPD moves forward with their investigation", said DA Ashley Rich. "My office, as always, will take a thorough look at all the evidence and vigorously prosecute this offense and seek justice for the victim."
At last check, Owens was in fair condition at USA Medical Center.
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