Charges filed, suspect remains at large after attacking 12-year-old dancer in Cape
Felony charges have been filed against 27-year-old Cedric Charles Moore Jr. of Cape Girardeau for allegedly punching a 12-year-old dancer in the head Friday night, according to information released Monday by the Cape Girardeau Police Department.
The alleged assailant now faces one Class B felony count of first-degree endangering the welfare of a child and one class D felony count of second-degree assault, according to an arrest warrant filed by Cape Girardeau County Prosecutor Mark Welker and signed Monday by Judge Scott A. Lipke, with a $50,000 cash-only bond.
Welker provided additional information about Missouri’s hate-crime statute, which is listed under RSMo 557.035, and noted the statute only allows prosecutors to enhance “specific” crimes as hate crimes.
The two felony counts filed against Moore are not eligible to be enhanced under Missouri’s hate-crime statue, Welker stated. The prosecuting attorney explained that in order to enhance a charge as a hate crime in this instance would require the second-degree assault count to be lowered to a third-degree assault count — effectively decreasing the alleged suspect’s possible maximum sentence.
“The public has understandably expressed a desire to see Moore charged with a hate crime for this heinous crime,” Cape Girardeau police Sgt. Joey Hann stated in the Monday news release, “but in accordance with state statutes, this charge would only apply if the assault was categorized to a lesser degree, which would not be in the best interest of seeking true justice for the victim.”
The attack was captured on Facebook Live and garnered more than 450,000 views by Monday afternoon as the search for the attacker now continues into its fourth day. The incident has also gained national attention from celebrity news websites such as TMZ and WorldStarHipHop.
The Facebook Live video footage, captured by Fingerprint Urban Dance Studio instructor Micheal Curry, shows the instructor and two Fingerprint dancers taking turns performing downtown near the intersection of Main and Independence streets.
About four minutes into the video, a dark-colored SUV can be seen entering the frame and stopping in the westbound lane of Independence Street. An adult male passenger is seen exiting the SUV and approaching the 12-year-old dancer from behind, then immediately punching the juvenile in the head.
On Saturday morning, Hann described the attack on the young performer as “extreme force in an unprovoked attack” and stated the victim was transported to a local hospital by his friends.
None of the dancers had prior knowledge of the attacker, according to Curry, and the 12-year-old suffered a concussion and an injury to his nose.
“He is resting at home today, and was still getting dizzy as of this morning,” Curry said Sunday.
A probable-cause statement written by Sgt. Bradley Neels stated the “unprovoked random act of violence” makes Moore a danger to the community. Neels also stated there was no indication of Moore having any prior contact with the victim who was “attacked from behind with no way of defending himself” nor any indication the victim posed “any sort of threat” to Moore.
According to Curry, the dance group has hosted street dances for more than two years during the spring and summer seasons without incident as a way to showcase their art in a positive light while giving kids a chance to perform and make revenue off their passion.
The instructor thanked the community for its support throughout the weekend, and said he especially appreciates the people at Shaker’s Bar for quickly responding after the attack.
“The bouncers were really quick about being proactive in helping,” Curry said. “I had the video, but I didn’t know who he was. They put information out there quickly to get him identified.”
For information about Fingerprint Dance Studio, visit www.facebook.com/byo707.