'Unhinged' driver who threatened Hispanic DC crossing guard arrested, police say

A driver who was described as "unhinged" as he hurled racial epithets and threatened a crossing guard near a school has been arrested, according to police.

DC police said 55-year-old Lionel Kevin Hyater of Bethesda was arrested in connection with threats made to a crossing guard near Lafayette Elementary School in the 5500 block of Broad Branch Road, NW at about 3:25 p.m. on Monday.

Witnesses said the man in a dark Nissan Murano came up to Broad Branch Road while driving along Northampton Street and stopped near the crossing guard.

It was then witnesses said he began verbally attacking the guard, who is Hispanic, with racial slurs and said he "did not belong working in this area around white kids." The man also said he was an ex-Marine and "used to shoot people like him at the border," according to witnesses.

After driving off, witnesses said the man even made a U-turn to come back and continue his threatening tirade against the crossing guard and nearby schoolkids and residents, saying things like, "I should shoot you up" and "I should just run you over."

DC police announced that Hyater was taken into custody on Thursday and has been charged with felony threats and stalking.

Authorities said they were investigating the incident as potentially being motivated by hate or bias. Police note a designation as a hate crime by the department does not mean that prosecutors will prosecute it as a hate crime.