Teens facing charges in connection with alleged hate crime at Salem restaurant

A teen is facing charges in connection with an alleged hate crime outside a Salem restaurant.

On April 7 just after 8 p.m., Salem officers responded to a hate crime that had occurred a little earlier that evening at the Wendy’s on 91 Lafayette Street

According to police, the victims reported that while inside Wendy’s, a group of young males began harassing them.

The males were calling them derogatory terms related to their perceived sexual orientation, according to police. This happened multiple times and when the victims left the restaurant, the group followed them outside.

Once outside, one of the victims reported being struck in the head by a projectile. After investigation, this was determined to be a gel-filled bead known as an “Orbeez,” shot from small plastic toy guns.

The victims immediately left the area and reported the incident.

Officers arrested Dominick Jayden Espinal, 18, of Salem, and charged him with Assault & Battery with a Dangerous Weapon, Assault to Intimidate, and a Civil Rights Violation.

A second adult, and two juveniles, will be summonsed to court for Assault to Intimidate and Civil Rights Violations.

The Salem Police Department wants anyone with similar crimes to report them.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates as more information becomes available.

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