TAMPA, Fla., Nov. 10 (UPI) -- A U.S. Marine reservist has been charged with using a tire iron to attack a Greek Orthodox priest he mistook for an Arab terrorist, police in Florida said.
Jasen D. Bruce, 28, has been charged with aggravated battery with a deadly weapon and authorities were looking into whether to charge him with a hate crime in an attack Monday on the Rev. Alexio Marakis, the St. Petersburg (Fla.) Times reported Tuesday.
Police said Marakis, of Crete, Greece, was in the region to visit St. Nicholas Greek Cathedral when he got lost and stopped in Tampa to ask for help. When he got out of his car, Bruce allegedly struck him in the head with a tire iron and then chased him three blocks, police said.
Bruce called 911 and said he was going to take in custody an Arab man he said had tried to rob him, the newspaper said. He told police who responded to the call that Marakis was a terrorist.
Marakis was taken to Tampa General Hospital, where a translator helped him tell police what happened.
Bruce had already engaged a lawyer by the time police went to his apartment to interview him, the Times said. He was released early Tuesday on $7,500 bond.