Hate crime, hit-and-run charges filed in attack on African Americans outside Torrance hotel

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Dennis Aaron Wyman is seen in an undated booking photo released July 13, 2020, by the Torrance Police Department.
Dennis Aaron Wyman is seen in an undated booking photo released July 13, 2020, by the Torrance Police Department.

A 42-year-old man is facing hate crime and hit-and-run charges in an attack on a group of Black people outside a Torrance hotel last month, prosecutors said Monday.

Redondo Beach resident Dennis Wyman started the June 29 confrontation by yelling racial slurs at African Americans in the parking lot of the Staybridge Suites at 19901 Prairie Ave., according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.

Wyman then allegedly got into his vehicle and accelerated toward one of the victims.

The father of one victim went to the hotel to help, and Wyman continued to hurl epithets while using his vehicle to hit the man, the DA’s office said.

Prosecutors say Wyman assaulted two victims before fleeing the scene in his car.

Police say they responded to reports of shots fired at the hotel around 11:30 p.m., after one of the victims — an off-duty security guard — used a handgun to fire at Wyman before being struck by the vehicle.

Responding officers found a 50-year-old man who suffered lower extremity injuries as a result of being hit with a car. He was treated at a local hospital, Torrance police said.

The ensuing investigation led to Wyman being identified as the suspect, and he was arrested during a traffic stop on July 8. Charges were filed two days later, officials said.

Wyman is facing two counts of assault with a deadly weapon, a car, and one count of hit-and-run driving resulting in serious injury, with the special allegation that the alleged crimes were hate crimes.

The defendant is scheduled to be arraigned Tuesday. If convicted as charged, he could face up to 12 years in state prison.

Wyman remained in custody Monday on $1.002 million bail, inmate records show.

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