Brothers Charged in Racially Motivated Attack in Pizza Shop Parking Lot

The victim was attacked while walking through the parking lot of a pizza shop in Dracut

NBCUniversal, Inc.

Two brothers from New Hampshire have been charged with a racially motivated attack on a man in the parking lot of a Massachusetts pizza shop earlier this year.

Jeremy Stephenson, 36, of Plaistow, and James Stephenson, 39, of Salem, were released on personal recognizance following their arraignments this week in Middlesex Superior Court in connection with the late September attack, Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan and Dracut police Chief Peter Bartlett said in a joint statement Wednesday.

Twenty-two-year-old Jonathan Shumba had just walked out of a 7-Eleven in Dracut when two guys in a car started yelling at him in the parking lot.

"It was terrible," said Shumba, who has autism. "I try to be on my best behavior, try to stay out of trouble mostly."

According to Ryan's office, the two men verbally accosted Shumba and then assaulted him, even pushing him through a glass window of a pizza place.

"This guy twice my size threw me in the window," said Shumba.

The two suspects were identified by investigators as the Stephenson brothers.

They allegedly used racial slurs.

At one point, Shumba was able to grab a piece of the shattered glass and stab one of the brothers in self-defense.

"I didn't want to, like, die on concrete," said Shumba. "It was two against one. I was trying to survive, mostly."

The injured brother took off, and the other allegedly said to Shumba, "You should go back to Africa."

"They was saying some messed up stuff to me," he said.

The incident happened in September, but investigators just released information on Wednesday about the attack after the two brothers were arraigned earlier in the week.

Shumba was treated at the hospital for his injuries, but he has since recovered.

Both brothers are facing several charges in this case, including civil rights violations.

After their court appearance, the brothers were released on personal recognizance and ordered to stay away from the victim. They are due back in Lowell Superior Court on Dec. 19.

Associated Press/NBC10 Boston
Contact Us