ST. LOUIS (KTVI) – Two white men charged with a hate crime after allegedly throwing eggs and yelling racial slurs at a woman waiting for a Metro bus Friday night in South St. Louis, worked together at a prison ministry in Ballwin.
David Ragain and Jesse Reed, both 30-years-old and both from Jefferson County were arrested and charged with Assault Motivated By Discrimination, a Class D Felony punishable by up to four years in prison.
Both men are free on bond.
The two allegedly were riding on South Grand Friday night, when just before 11:00 p.m. they threw eggs at a woman waiting at a Metro bus stop near Chippewa. According to court documents, they also yelled, 'Black (n-word) (b-word).'
Both men had worked for approximately two years at a prison outreach ministry called Mission Gate.
'We were in utter shock,' said Executive Director Trish Mathes. 'We were very discouraged, very sad and very shocked and my husband said right away they have to go,' she said.
But before she could fire them, she says both men called her to resign.
'Jesse said he was very, very, sorry. Very tearful. I was in shock,' Mathes said. She also says Reed said he was only the driver and blamed the rest on Ragain.
According to Mathes, and confirmed by law enforcement sources, the men were riding in a church van from New Hope Fellowship in High Ridge, where Mathes says Reed occasionally preached. The pastor would not comment saying the matter was under investigation, but he said Reed was not a member of the staff.
St. Louis Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce says a witness indicated there were more victims and she hopes they will come forward.
'This is a deeply disturbing act,' Joyce said. 'I can`t imagine what people are thinking who come up and commit that kind of a crime.'
Mathes finds the whole thing inconceivable, especially since many of the clients the men helped to get a fresh start after prison were black.
'If they come to a point in their life where (Ragain and Reed) are sorrowful and repentant, I know God will work with them and what seems so terrible God can end up making good out of it,' she said.