Skip to main content

Florida Tourist Charged with Hate Crime, Told Asian Family to ‘Go Back Where They Came from’ After Kids Pet His Dogs: Sheriff

Wade Anton mugshot via Okaloosa Dept Corrections

Wade Anton

A Texas man on vacation in the Florida panhandle this week is facing a hate crime charge after he allegedly physically assaulted a family of Asian descent and used racist language, the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office (OCSO) announced Friday.

According to the sheriff’s office, witnesses said that 54-year-old tourist Wade Anton told an Asian woman and her children to “go back where they came from” and uttered a racial slur during a verbal altercation that took place Thursday afternoon at Beasley Park on Okaloosa Island. A news release posted to the sheriff’s office official Facebook page said that Anton had been charged with “a hate crime related battery.”

OCSO News Release:
A Texas tourist who witnesses say made racial slurs towards another visitor at Beasley Park on…

Posted by Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office on Friday, June 11, 2021

Anton reportedly told sheriff’s office deputies that the altercation began because the woman’s children were petting his dog. According to this story, Anton said that he told the children to leave his dogs along but they ignored him. That’s when things escalated.

The woman’s husband told the sheriff’s office that Anton was approximately 25 feet away from his family when the verbal argument began, but then Anton “ran around the park railings and began punching [the husband] repeatedly.”

The woman’s husband also told deputies that as Anton was running towards him, he “pulled out a handgun to protect himself.”

The two men were then separated by witnesses without anyone sustaining any serious injuries.

The Okaloosa Department of Corrections told local ABC News-affiliate WEAR-TV that Anton was taken into custody and was being held on $10,000 bond as he awaited a preliminary hearing before a judge. Jail records show that Anton was released at 3:50 p.m. on Friday.

[image via Okaloosa Department of Corrections]

Have a tip we should know? [email protected]

Filed Under:

Follow Law&Crime:

Jerry Lambe is a journalist at Law&Crime. He is a graduate of Georgetown University and New York Law School and previously worked in financial securities compliance and Civil Rights employment law.