WASHINGTON – Mark Gautreau, 50, pleaded guilty today in federal court in New Orleans for shooting two men on the Bonnet Carre Spillway in St. Charles Parish, La., on Aug. 20, 2006, announced the Department of Justice.
In the factual basis supporting his plea, Gautreau admitted that he was in the parking lot near his truck when he told a bystander that he intended to “shoot some Mexicans.” Gautreau admitted he then loaded ammunition into his 12-gauge shotgun, and drove off. Gautreau also admitted that, once he reached the area where four Hispanic men were fishing, he got out of his truck and fired his shotgun one time. The shotgun blast hit two of the Hispanic men, who suffered injuries that required hospitalization. Gautreau admitted that the four Hispanic men did not shoot at him or threaten him in any way that would require him to defend himself.
“This violent attack against Latino victims has no place in our country,” said Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department. “The department is committed to prosecuting these cases, wherever they arise.”
“Unprovoked acts of aggression – especially those fueled by prejudice will be met with firm justice,” said U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Louisiana Jim Letten. “We in the United States Attorney’s Office will continue in our seamless partnership with the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division and the FBI to ensure that everyone in our communities remain free from fear of harm and exploitation.”
Gautreau pleaded guilty to one count of assault with a dangerous weapon within the maritime and territorial jurisdiction of the United States.
Sentencing for Gautreau is scheduled for Feb. 9, 2012. He faces up to 10 years in prison and a maximum fine of $250,000.
This case was investigated by the New Orleans office of the FBI. The case was prosecuted by Trial Attorney Angie Cha of the Civil Rights Division and Assistant U.S. Attorney Emily Greenfield.