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3 more arrests in attack on black Mormon missionary in Utah

PROVO, Utah — Police have arrested three more people who are thought to have been involved in an attack on a black missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

The Daily Herald in Provo reported Tuesday that 19-year-old Nathan Thomas, of Nephi, and two juveniles were arrested in connection with the Jan. 28 attack in the central Utah city of Payson. In total, five people have been arrested.

Thomas has been charged with a third-degree felony count of assault, which is enhanced by suspected gang activity and a hate crime classification. Attorneys representing Thomas did not immediately respond to a message seeking comment Tuesday.

Investigators say the victim and his missionary companion were headed to a house when they encountered a group of people wearing dark hoodies. The victim, who is Panamanian, says the group shouted a racial slur, threw his cellphone on the ground, threatened his mother and called him a “church boy” before beating him.

Police say the victim’s white missionary companion was not targeted.

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