One of the men charged in the brutal attack on a member of the East Bay's large Sikh community has contacted authorities for the first time, a month after the assault.
Colton Leblanc of Winnie, Texas, recently posted $120,000 bail after federal agents began trying to track him down, according to a Contra Costa County prosecutor.
Leblanc and Chase Little of Beaumont, Texas, were charged earlier this month with felony assault with hate crime enhancements for allegedly beating up Maan Singh Khalsa, knocking off his turban and cutting a fistful of hair from his head near Richmond's Hilltop Mall on Sept. 25.
Authorities say Leblanc and Little threw beer cans at Khalsa's car before assaulting him through his open car window. The attack left Khalsa with a swollen black eye, damaged teeth and knife wounds to his left hand, leading to an infection that will require the amputation of one his fingers.
The two Texas men were in the area doing contract work at the Chevron refinery at the time. After the assault, they were fired from their jobs as refinery employees at a company tied to Koch Industries.
Another refinery worker, Dustin Albarado, was named in the attack and fired from the same company but will not be charged.
Police arrested Little the day of the attack and a bench warrant was later issued for Leblanc.
The FBI began work on apprehending him, but before he was detained he contacted authorities through a lawyer, said Contra Costa County Deputy Attorney Simon O'Connell.
"The attention prompted Leblanc to come forward," O'Connell said in an email.
Leblanc posted bail without appearing in California and without being arrested.
Leblanc and Little are due to be arraigned in Contra Costa County court on Nov. 21.
Efforts to reach their attorneys were unsuccessful.
The Sikh Coalition, an advocacy organization that brought attention to the case, issued a statement after learning that Leblanc had come forward.
"We will monitor the next steps in this case closely but remain thankful that hate crime charges have been filed in this case because that's the crucial first step for addressing the broader problem," said the group's legal director, Harsimran Kaur.