The stabbing of an Asian American family in Texas last month was, in fact, due to coronavirus-fueled racism, according to a report obtained by ABC News.
19-year-old Jose Gomez attacked the family, which included a 2-year-old and a 6-year-old, at a Sam’s Club in Midland, Texas on March 14th. The assault was stopped when an employee, Zach Owen, got Gomez in a chokehold until an off-duty Border Patrol agent was able to take him into custody.
The FBI report obtained by ABC said that Gomez “indicated that he stabbed the family because he thought the family was Chinese, and infecting people with the coronavirus.”
The incident is one of a growing number of racist attacks against Asian people in light of the coronavirus outbreak.
“The FBI assesses hate crime incidents against Asian-Americans likely will surge across the United States, due to the spread of coronavirus disease…endangering Asian American communities,” reads the FBI’s report.
“The FBI makes this assessment based on the assumption that a portion of the US public will associate COVID-19 with China and Asian American populations.”
Many are blaming President Trump for exacerbating the situation.
Trump has repeatedly sought to divert attention from his own failures to prepare the United States for the COVID-19 crisis by pointedly referring to the disease as the “Chinese virus.”
While the virus did originate in Wuhan, China, this administration already has a history of weaponizing racism and xenophobia for its own gain, and it’s easy to see this flip of the narrative for exactly what it is.
BuzzFeed News reports that the FBI is considering charging Gomez with a hate crime over the stabbing, in addition to the current charges of three counts of attempted capital murder and one count of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.