Kids ‘couldn’t breathe’ after bicyclist pepper sprayed them

12-year-old Leonard had to be hospitalized after he was pepper sprayed

Three children were pepper sprayed by a man on a bicyclist, September 15, 2016. (KOIN)
Three children were pepper sprayed by a man on a bicyclist, September 15, 2016. (KOIN)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) —  A man riding a bicycle pepper sprayed 3 children in their Northeast Portland neighborhood Tuesday night, police said.

The 7, 11 and 12-year-old boys said they were waiting for their mom and grandma in their car on NE 9th Avenue when a man on a bicycle approached them.

Three Portland children were pepper sprayed on Tuesday evening by a suspect riding a bicycle. (KOIN)
Three Portland children were pepper sprayed on Tuesday evening by a suspect riding a bicycle. (KOIN)

“A guy on the bicycle rode past us and asked us, ‘Are we OK?'” 12-year-old Leonard told KOIN 6 News.

Leonard replied “yes” and said the man rode off, staring at them. The boys didn’t know he would circle around and sneak up to their car, hitting them with the spray.

“I was mad, angry, and traumatized at the same time,” Leonard said. “I couldn’t breathe and my body felt like it was on fire. It was burning very bad.”

The children said they jumped out of the car, screaming.

“He pepper sprayed me in my eye and I got out of the car and ran into a tree,” Nehemiah said. “I was scared.”

In the midst of the chaos, the suspect sprayed at the boys’ grandma and mom — who only wanted to share her last name, Frazier — yelling the N-word at them.

Frazier works in the medical field, but said she felt helpless.

“How could this happen and I can’t save my kids?” Frazier asked. “It literally felt like it was eating my face off. I got in the shower 5 times and my skin was still burning.”

Leonard, who was hit the hardest, had to go to the hospital. Medical professionals told the family they suspected they were hit with “bear spray”.

Neighbors showed support for the family after the incident.

“Absolutely disgusting, horrible incident,” neighbor Laurel Carrasco said. “I think we all have to look out for each other’s children.”

The boys described the suspect as a white or Hispanic man in his mid-20s, 5’9″ tall and 160 pounds. They said he was wearing black spandex-style bicycle wear with a gray or black helmet. He was riding a road bicycle with a white box on the back.

A Bias Crimes detective with Portland Police Bureau is investigating the attack because the victims are all African American.

“I’m very disappointed someone would do this,” Frazier said. “My kids are good kids.”

Frazier’s insurance company said her car may be a total loss.

If you have any information on the case, please call Portland Police Bureau.

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