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He asked if exchange students were 'American boys' — and used a stun gun, Florida cops say

Florida police arrested John Jay Smith, 60, after they accused him of pulling a stun gun and knife on Egyptian exchange students in a St. Augustine McDonald's and told them to "get out of my country." Police say he drove into a pole and seemed drunk.
Florida police arrested John Jay Smith, 60, after they accused him of pulling a stun gun and knife on Egyptian exchange students in a St. Augustine McDonald's and told them to "get out of my country." Police say he drove into a pole and seemed drunk. St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office

An altercation at a McDonald's in St. Augustine, Florida, has left two Egyptian exchange students shaken.

"It was scary from the beginning," one of the students told News4Jax. “We’re just mentally, physically and subconsciously drained right now. This is just too much for us."

John Jay Smith, 60, went up to the pair of Muslim men, whom McClatchy is not naming, and asked whether they were "American boys," according to the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office. He yelled that they need to "Get the (expletive) out of here," police told The Florida Times-Union, said the pair "don't deserve American food."

In an interview with police, the men said they were standing outside the McDonald's and one of them was talking on the phone when Smith launched his tirade and began to threaten them, according to The Florida-Times Union.

The exchange students told police that Smith yelled that they need to "get out of my country" and then pulled out a knife. Police say the two went into their car parked outside the fast food restaurant — but Smith followed them, according to News4Jax.

He is accused of pulling out a stun gun, putting it through the car's open window and then trying to use it on them, The Florida-Times Union reported from the police report. Smith, who police say appeared to be drunk, backed into a pole while trying to drive away.

Police told NBC Miami that they arrived to the McDonald's and arrested Smith, who told officers that "they killed my son" and said his child died in Afghanistan while serving in the U.S. Marines. It hasn't been confirmed if his son died while serving for the armed forces.

A police report obtained by News4Jax alleges that Smith also accused the exchange students of "making a ruckus, so I told them to get out of here and one of them pulled a gun." But police say there is no evidence either of men had a gun.

Smith faces charges of trespassing, burglary and aggravated assault, NBC Miami reported. He was given a $8,500 bond.

It's not yet known if the man will face a hate crime charge. Randy Reep, an attorney that isn't directly involved in the case, explained to News4Jax what evidence would be needed to bring forward that charge.

“Was the prejudice the defendant had toward the victims caused by their ethnicity or where they’re from? If the answer to that is 'yes,' then it can be classified as a hate crime," he told News4Jax. "You have to understand what’s in the mind of the defendant when they’re committing the act."

In another case from California, a driver was caught on camera as she told another driver from South Korea that “this is not your f–king country. This is my country." The video shows her saying “Oh my God, Chinese ugly, ugly" during the racially-motivated rant.

What we have here is hate speech,” police spokeswoman Geneva Bosques told the New York Post. "And we met with her, and she does not deny that she did any of this. But she claims he started it by saying to go back to her country.”

This video shot from a car carrying two people, including a Korean-American Air Force veteran, shows another driver making racist gestures at them in Fremont, California, in mid-May.

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