Hate crime charges include attempted murder

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, August 23, 2006


Staff Reporter

ST. CHARLES – Two men fishing in the Bonne Carre Spillway Sunday nearly became sitting ducks for a Gonzales man who for no apparent reason, allegedly began to open fire on the men, which led to his arrest for attempted murder.

Mark Gauthreau, 44, of 42298 N. Wood in Gonzales, was charged August 21 with two counts of attempted first degree murder, both which are considered hate crimes due to the circumstances involved in the case. The victims are both of Hispanic origin, according to Sheriff Greg Champagne, which was reported to deputies as the possible cause of the shootings.

Gauthreau was leaving the boat launch near the Bonne Carre Spillway in St. Charles Parish when he realized he had locked his keys in the truck. Gauthreau, who has prior DWI’s on his police record as well as the carrying of an illegal weapon charge, broke the rear sliding window on his own truck to gain entrance, sparking passerby to stop to see if Gauthreau was in need of assistance.

Gauthreau then grabbed a shotgun out of his truck and allegedly made a comment to the people who stopped that he was going to &#8220shoot me some Mexicans.” Unprovoked by the two Hispanic men fishing in the spillway, Gauthreau began to open fire on the victims who suffered gun shot wounds to their legs.

Gauthreau fled the scene in such a hurry he actually lost the boat he was pulling on a trailer with his truck, Champagne said. The victims were transported to St. Charles Hospital for treatment.

St. Charles deputies tracked down Gonzales and booked him accordingly although Gauthreau later claimed the two men were going to rob him but no evidence indicated the two men had ever spoken to or approached Gauthreau, Champagne said.

Bond information had not been set as of press time.