LANCASTER — An Acton man was shot and seriously wounded Saturday afternoon during what he described as a racially motivated confrontation, sheriff's deputies said.
Robert Ulberg, 25, who is white, told deputies that at least two African Americans approached him in a car in Lancaster and shouted "skinhead!" before shooting him once in the abdomen and driving off.
Ulberg was airlifted to Providence Holy Cross Medical Center in Mission Hills where he was listed in good and stable condition Saturday night after undergoing surgery.
Earlier in the week, two other incidents in the Antelope Valley were labeled hate crimes by law enforcement officials. But deputies said that without further investigation, they could not determine whether Ulberg's shooting was in the same category.
"We don't even know if the attack happened like he said it did," said Lt. Terry Lewis of the Sheriff's Department's Antelope Valley station. Lewis said neither blood nor bullet casings were found at the scene.
Before being flown to the hospital, Ulberg told deputies he was walking near the intersection of 10th Street West and Avenue J about 2 p.m. when a white Toyota drove up to him and the men inside shouted "skinhead!" Ulberg said the men then shot him without warning, Lewis said.
Doctors said Ulberg's injuries did not seem life threatening. "Mr. Ulberg suffered a gunshot wound to the right side of his abdomen, causing damage to his liver and diaphragm, but his prognosis is good," said trauma surgeon Dr. Jin Park of Holy Cross who performed the operation. Ulberg, described by the doctor as having short blond hair, spoke to Park before the surgery.
"He said someone shot him because they thought he was a skinhead," Park said, "but he told me that he is not a skinhead."
Deputies said that if the shooting was a hate crime, it could be related to two incidents earlier in the week.
On Monday, two African American teenagers were attacked by white youths with a machete, sheriff's deputies said.
Marcus Cotton, 16, was slashed four times and received a deep cut in his right arm and superficial wounds to his back and shoulders. His cousin, Angela McKenzie, 17, said she was spat on and pushed out of the way when she tried to come to Cotton's defense. The attackers allegedly gave Nazi salutes and shouted "white power!" during the assault.
Two teenagers arrested after the incident were charged with committing a hate crime and assault with a deadly weapon.
Danny Williams, 22, who was also arrested in the attack, was not charged. But on Friday while still in jail, he was beaten by another inmate, sheriff's deputies said. In an interview, Williams said he was attacked by two African Americans who yelled "KKK!" before striking him.
Williams identified himself as a skinhead. "I just want to live with people of my own color," he said. "Even some black people want to live with nothing but blacks."