Prison sentence for man who threatened Black renters

A North Carolina man who pleaded guilty to charges that he threatened to shoot a Black family for renting a home has been sentenced to more than two years in prison

GREENVILLE, N.C. -- A North Carolina man who pleaded guilty three months ago to charges that he threatened to shoot an African American family for renting a home has been sentenced to more than two years in prison.

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, the prison sentenced handed down to Douglas Matthew Gurkins, 34, on Monday, is followed by three years of supervised release. No hometown was given for Gurkins, and officials didn't say where the incidents occurred.

Court documents said Gurkins drove to the family’s home, yelled racial slurs at them and told them they didn’t belong in the home. According to the documents, Gurkins threatened to shoot the mother and four children and any other Black people who entered the property. He then threatened the family with a metal rod, prosecutors said. The family moved out a few days later.

The defendant made similar threats toward two other Black families living in the same neighborhood, according to a Justice Department news release.