Texas man given 25 years on hate crime charges for violently attacking Asian family in grocery store

Texas man given 25 years on hate crime charges for violently attacking Asian family in grocery store

August 5, 2022 0 By Ellen Novack

While he had never seen the family before, he told authorities he perceived them as a “threat” because they supposedly “came from the country who started spreading the disease around.” He admitted to trying to kill the father and the 6-year-old in an effort to “stop the threat.”

“Mr. Gomez’s cowardly and racially motivated actions do not represent our West Texas community,”  Special Agent in Charge Jeffery R. Downey of the FBI El Paso Field Office said according to a DOJ press release. “It is our hope today’s sentence will help the victims with the healing process. Rest assured, the FBI and our law enforcement partners will aggressively pursue anyone who commits these violent acts to ensure the civil rights of all Americans are protected.”

The then-19-year-old Sam’s Club employee allegedly stabbed three Asian American family members, including a 2-year-old and a 6-year-old, Daily Kos reported.

Gomez slashed open the 6-year-old child’s face and came “millimeters from [the boy’s] right eye, split his right ear, and wrapped around to the back of his skull,” prosecutors said when announcing charges. A colleague of Gomez’s who attempted to stop the violence suffered several cuts as well. Throughout the incident, Gomez allegedly yelled, “Get out of America!”

Prior to being charged with hate crimes, Gomez was charged with three counts of attempted capital murder and one count of aggravated assault. He is still facing those pending state charges, NBC News affiliate KWES-TV of Odessa, Texas, reported.

Gomez’s plea follows an increase in hate crimes targeting the AAPI community across the country.

Hate crime data from the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University-San Bernardino found that hate crimes against Asian Americans surged in 2020 in at least 15 cities, Daily Kos reported. As the cities were further reviewed, a new report indicated that crimes against Asian Americans rose by 169% when comparing the first quarter of 2020 to the first quarter of 2021.

Additionally, data released by the FBI found that hate crimes targeting people of Asian descent in the U.S. rose by 70% last year when compared to the number of such incidents in 2019. The report found that more than 10,000 people reported hate crimes to law enforcement, the highest tally of reported hate crimes since 2008.

Other studies also contribute the rise in targeted crimes to an increase of distrust against the AAPI community. According to a report released by nonprofits Leading Asian Americans to Unite for Change (LAAUNCH) and The Asian American Foundation (TAAF), 21% of U.S. adults now say Asian Americans are at least partly responsible for COVID-19.

“Pandemic-driven and racially-motivated acts of violence are deplorable crimes, and the Justice Department stands ready to use our hate crimes laws to hold perpetrators accountable,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke for the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, according to the DOJ press release. “Hate crimes targeting Asian Americans have spiked during the pandemic and must be confronted. All people deserve to feel safe and secure living in their communities, regardless of race, color or national origin.”

The AAPI community needs our support now more than ever. Hate is the real virus, and we cannot let it continue. Daily Kos has compiled resources to help our community stand united against racism. Help us put an end to this hate.