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White Man Charged With Hate Crime After Killing Black Man During Apparent Road Rage Incident

An apparent case of road rage in Belmont, Massachusetts has left one man dead and another facing multiple charges.

Dean Kapsalis, 54, was arrested and charged with a civil rights violation causing injury, assault and battery with a dangerous weapon causing serious bodily injury, and leaving the scene of a crash after an altercation his had with 34-year-old Henry Tapia.

According to authorities, Kapsalis, who is white, got into a verbal altercation with Tapia, who is black, around 4:30 p.m. on Jan 19.

“Both men allegedly exited their vehicles before Mr. Kapsalis reentered his vehicle, a Dodge Dakota, and allegedly struck the victim,” the Middlesex District Attorney’s Office said in a statement Wednesday.

Police were called to the scene of the crime, where they found Tapia laying in the road. He was taken to Mass General Hospital where he died from his injuries.

Police said Kapsalis fled the scene of the crime after hitting Tapia with his truck, however he turned himself in at the Belmont Police Department about thirty minutes later.

According to court documents, witnesses told police they heard Kapsalis yelling racial slurs at Tapia before he got back in his truck and allegedly ran the man down.  

“These are the kinds of incidents of which we have sadly particularly over the last year, seen an increase across our country, across our nation and unfortunately even here in Middlesex County,” District Attorney Marian Ryan said. “We cannot and will not tolerate behavior that is rooted in racial bias.”

Tapia leaves behind a girlfriend and three kids all of them, devastated and hoping for justice.

Kapsalis is being held pending a hearing. The incident is currently under investigation.

Authorities say it is possible that the charges against Kapsalis will be upgraded after the investigation is complete.

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