Sylacauga police search for suspects in possible racially-motivated attack

Sylacauga police search for suspects in possible racially-motivated attack
Brian Ogle. Source: Family photo
Brian Ogle. Source: Family photo

SYLACAUGA, AL (WBRC) - Police increased patrols around Sylacauga High School on Monday and questioned several people following Friday night's off-campus attack of 17-year-old Brian Ogle.

The student, who had been involved in a "minor" dispute on campus last week, was beaten by several people in a parking lot following the high school football game Friday night.

"It seemed to be a planned incident. They planned it, this kid was singled out for some reason," Chief Kelley Johnson said.

Ogle's mother, Brandi Allen, said her son had responded to students wearing "Black Lives Matter" T-shirts at school with "Blue Lives Matter," a reference to police.

"Some people didn't take kindly to some words on social media. They went overboard and overreacted. Drastically overreacted," Chief Johnson said.

Ogle is in "fair" condition at UAB hospital suffering from a fractured skull.

Chief Johnson said his detectives have worked with the Talladega District Attorney's office to discuss what charges could be filed in the case.

It is not clear how many people could be involved. Johnson said witnesses told him the number ran from five to 60, though Ogle's mother believes the number could be around 13.

Police increased patrols at the high school throughout the day Monday, though police say a fight that was related to Friday's incident did take place.

That fight, according to police, happened in the area where seniors eat lunch. No one was reported injured and no charges had been filed in that incident. Police say the victim was a witness to the initial assault on Friday evening.

"A group of people to do that to any child, yellow, blue, whatever color, is wrong," high school parent Jaqulyn Culpepper said as she sat in her truck outside the school.

The head of the Talladega NAACP met with the police chief on Monday to offer the organization's support to calm racial tensions.

"We don't want anyone else hurt," Rev. Hugh Morris said.

The superintendent of Sylacauga schools, Dr. Michael Todd Freeman, did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Monday.

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