Man who racially targeted Flyers' Simmonds arrested

The man who allegedly threw a banana at Wayne Simmonds has been arrested. (Chris Young/AP, The Canadian Press)

The man who racially targeted Flyers forward Wayne Simmonds in a preseason game in London, Ontario, last week has been arrested.

At a press conference on Wednesday, London police chief Brad Duncan announced that Christopher Moorhouse, 26, of London, has been arrested and charged under the trespass to property act, a provincial statute.

Moorhouse was allegedly the one who threw the banana at Simmonds, one of the few black players in the NHL, during a shootout attempt at the John Labatt Centre on Sept. 22.

"Mr.Moorhouse has been served with a part three summons, and if convicted of this offence - could be liable to a fine of not more than $2,000," Duncan said. "This is a provincial offense and not a criminal charge, and will be dealt with in the provincial offenses court.

"This incident affected, not only our local community, it was across the national and international plane - and obviously individuals have very strong feelings about what occurred and I just wanted to indicate this individual has expressed remorse, notwithstanding the actions that he undertook, but we don't want individuals to go beyond what the court will do in terms of the penalty."

Duncan expressed concerns about possible retribution for Moorhouse by "vigilantism." Fans of the game had offered more than $2,000 in a reward for Moorhouse's arrest using social media.

Comcast-Spectacor Peter Luukko, president of the Flyers and the Global Spectrum company that manages the John Labatt Centre, was grateful for the support of the local community in London that came forward with information about Moorhouse.

"We would like to express our gratitude to the City of London, the police department and the many fans who came forward with information leading to this arrest," Luukko said in a statement. "We fully support the efforts to prosecute this individual. We have zero tolerance when it comes to this type of foolish behaviour. We will not tolerate it at the John Labatt Centre nor any of the other facilities we manage. The Philadelphia Flyers look forward to our annual preseason game next fall and playing again in our home away from home, the John Labatt Centre."

Chief Duncan also indicated that Moorhouse will not be charged with a hate crime.

"We took a very, very careful look at the circumstances and in this particular case it did not meet the threshold of a hate crime," Duncan said. "You have to demonstrate the incident was motivated by hatred - but the circumstances, and the statements that we've received, would not meet that threshold of a hate crime." he continued, also explaining the evidence did not meet the threshold of a mischief charge."

London authorities begun searching for a suspect immediately after the banana was thrown. Simmonds, 23, in his first season with the Flyers, has yet to comment.

For the latest updates, follow Frank Seravalli on Twitter: @DNFlyers

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