Community Reacts to Alleged Hate Crime

April 18, 2006 – Posted at 5:01 p.m. CST

CORNING, AR -- With a community still reeling from news of a racial attack this weekend, many Corning residents are surprised that a hate crime could occur in their small town.

Corning is generally considered to be a quiet, tight-knit community but as word spreads about a crime that occurred over the weekend believed to have been racially motivated, residents here are speaking out.

"I don't know (if there is racial tension) because I've never known any black people to live in Corning ," said resident Ruth Aden.

But there's no justification for the brutal beating Craig Matthews suffered on Saturday.

"I didn't think it was right for all of them to gang up on one child. You know, that's not right," said resident Goldie Haygan, "They're black, but we're white. They all have the same souls that we've got."

"I think you should date and marry in your own race. But...I don't think it should go that far. I think that if that was it, that both parties should have thought twice before they did that," said Aden.

Life continues in this small town of 3300, but residents here say they hope this incident won't tarnish the image of their community.