Neo-Nazi Sentenced to 25 Years for Shooting Black Man in Racist Attack

White supremacist Brandon Higgs. (Baltimore County Police Department)

A white supremacist from Maryland will spend over two decades of his life behind bars for charges related to the 2018 shooting of a Black man in Reisterstown, a suburb of Baltimore. The confrontation was simply over the white man’s dog getting loose.

What We Know:

  • Investigators stated that 48-year-old Robert Peete and 60-year-old Elvis Smith first encountered 26-year-old Brandon Higgs as they laid concrete for a driveway at a residential home the year of the incident. Higgs’ dog broke loose and ended up walking all over the wet concrete, consequently ruining hours of work. Both men shared their frustration over Higgs’ dog. During the confrontation, Higgs became so infuriated that he returned home only to come back a short time later with a loaded weapon.
  • Investigators confirmed some of the words from the argument. Higgs told Smith and Peete “This is my hood… Black motherf*ckers, go back to Africa”. At that moment, it began to get a little more physical with shoving amongst the men.
  • Peete recalled the escalation by saying Higgs took his gun and pointed it directly to his face. Fortunately, he was able to move out of the line of fire. According to HuffPost, the gun went off in the middle of the brief scrap between all three men. A bullet ended up striking through Smith’s leg, obliterating his tibia in the process.

  • The shooting went onto receive national attention. After it went public, several of Higgs’ online chat logs leaked showing the history of his online activity with white supremacist groups. Some of the disturbing messages found in those logs were his blatant and murderous hatred for Black people.
  • In chat logs dating back to 2017, The Daily Beast noted that he spoke of murdering black and Jewish people. It was later revealed that Higgs had a link to a network of other prominent racists, several of whom have been “charged or convicted in violent attacks since the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville”.
  • That is the same rally Higgs reportedly attended. The “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia was known for its national coverage as soon as it turned violent. It resulted in the death of paralegal and civil rights activist Heather Hayer.
  • Despite minor evidence, Higgs was not directly connected with any anti-Black extremist groups. It is worthy to mention that he did possess a questionable yellow tattoo of a lambda in a circle. The Anti-Defamation League describes the ink is an Identitarian lambda, a symbol of “Identitarianism, a racist, anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant movement”.

Higgs was a former Navy cryptologist and was eventually found guilty in January. He was charged with “first-degree assault, attempted voluntary manslaughter, hate crimes, and firearms charges”. The judge sentenced him to 25 years in prison, plus five years probation.