A Texas teenager could face hate crime charges from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), after he allegedly attacked an Asian family while accusing them of spreading coronavirus, in a supermarket last month.
The teenager identified as Jose L. Gomez, 19 years old, is being accused of stabbing three Asians inside a Sam's Club in Midland, Texas last March 14. Gomez was said to have approached the Asian family of four, and then stabbed three of them including a toddler who was 2 years old and a 6-year-old child based on the arrest report.
On top of this, a new FBI analysis report indicated that the suspect said that he stabbed the family after he thought that they were Chinese and were infecting other people with the deadly coronavirus. The said case is now being classified as a hate crime and is being investigated by the bureau.
During the said attack, Zack Owen, an employee of the store where it happened intervened and tackled the perpetrator to the ground. During his intervention, he also sustained several injuries including a stab on the leg and a cut in the hand which he got while they were struggling for possession of the knife.
The altercation was then stopped by Bernie Ramirez an off-duty Border Patrol Agent who was just stopping for groceries, he was then able to detain Gomez before the arrival of responders from Midland police.
The 19-year-old perpetrator was initially charged with one count of aggravated assault and three counts of attempted capital murder. He was then detained and held on four separate bail bonds which totaled to a million dollars.
Hate crimes increase as COVID-19 continues to spread
The stabbing incident was recently cited in an analysis compiled by FBI Houston and was distributed to law enforcement agencies across the country as the FBI moves against hate crimes that emerged together with the spread of COVID-19.
According to ABC News, the FBI is still expecting the continued upward trend in hate crimes as the COVID-19 crisis persists, which they said was endangering people especially Asian-American communities.
In recent weeks, crimes against Asian-Americans have increased and have made several headlines as the coronavirus disease continue its widespread. For example, a 23-year-old woman in New York City was approached by another woman who punched her and shouted racists slurs. The incident is also being investigated by NYPD as a hate crime.
In addition, a 16-year-old high schooler in California was rushed to the hospital back in February after being attacked by other teenagers who accused him of coronavirus, the reason was him being an Asian American.
Moreover, a couple in Minneapolis also shared how a note laced with profanity was snuck in their front door earlier this week. The note was demanding they go back to China and take the "Chinese virus" with them.
In response to the upsurge of hate crimes amid the COVID-19 pandemic, New York has launched a hotline for those who are victimized by the rampant spread of coronavirus-related hate crimes.