OKALOOSA COUNTY, Fla. (WALA) -- A Texas tourist in northwest Florida who witnesses say made racial slurs towards another visitor at Beasely Park on Okaloosa Island Thursday is now charged with a hate crime related battery.
That's according to the Okaloosa County Sheriff's Office.
The OCSO says 54-year old Wade Anton reportedly told a woman and her children, who are of Asian descent, to "go back where they came from" and made racial slur during a verbal altercation around 4:15 p.m. Thursday.
Anton told Okaloosa County Sheriff's Office deputies it began because the woman's children were petting his dogs and ignored him when he asked them to leave the dogs alone, according to the OCSO.
The woman's husband says they were all initially separated by about 25 feet during the verbal argument, but Anton ran around the park railings and began punching him repeatedly. He told deputies as Anton was running towards him, he pulled a handgun to protect himself, the OCSO says.
The pair was separated by witnesses and no one was seriously injured, investigators say.