Midlander pleads guilty to hate crime charges

WASHINGTON The Department of Justice introduced Wednesday that Jose Gomez III, 21, of Midland, pleaded guilty to a few counts of committing a detest criminal offense for attacking an Asian household he believed was responsible for the COVID-19 pandemic mainly because he thought them to be Chinese, a push launch in depth.

Gomez faces a greatest sentence of life in jail and for each and every offense, a $250,000 high-quality.

Files filed in relationship with the plea element Gomez entered a Sam’s Club Warehouse in Midland powering an Asian family with youthful kids on March 14, 2020. Gomez had by no means observed the family members prior to and believed they were being Chinese. Gomez followed the Asian relatives in the retail store for many minutes since he perceived them to be a “threat” as they were being “from the country who commenced spreading that illness all over.”

The push release continued to detail Gomez momentarily left the relatives to locate a serrated steak knife in the retail store. Gomez bent the blade so that when he held the cope with in his fist, the blade rested against his knuckles, sharp-edge going through outward. Gomez returned to the Asian family members and punched the father, identified by the initials B.C., in the confront, cutting him. Gomez then remaining the scene, only to retrieve an eight-inch knife from the store.

When Gomez returned, he abruptly went following B.C.’s two younger children – then aged 6 and 2 a long time aged – who ended up seated in the front basket of the purchasing cart, the press release said. Gomez slashed open the encounter of R.C., the then-6-yr-aged baby. The blade entered millimeters from R.C.’s correct eye, break up his suitable ear, and wrapped close to to the back again of his skull. Gomez also stabbed a Sam’s Club staff who intervened to end Gomez from further assaulting the Asian family. While remaining held down on the floor, Gomez yelled at the Asian relatives, “Get out of The usa!”

Gomez admitted right after his assault that he believed the Asian spouse and children was Chinese and he blamed them for the COVID-19 pandemic, the press release mentioned. Gomez more admitted he had attempted to eliminate the 6-12 months-previous little one. Gomez also admitted he experienced attacked the retailer worker because Gomez required to eliminate the 6-yr-old kid and the keep worker was blocking him from carrying out so.

“An Asian relatives was searching when the defendant brutally attacked them because of their race and simply because he blamed them for the COVID-19 pandemic,” Assistant Legal professional Normal Kristen Clarke for the Justice Department’s Civil Legal rights Division stated in the push release. “Racially motivated despise crimes targeting the Asian American group are on the increase and have no position in our culture right now. All men and women ought to have to experience safe and safe residing in their communities, regardless of race, shade or national origin.”

“The defendant violently and horrifically attacked an unsuspecting harmless household simply because of how they seemed and the place he believed they arrived from,” U.S. Attorney Ashley C. Hoff of the Western District of Texas stated in the press launch. “This kind of loathe-primarily based violence has no location in our culture and will not be tolerated. These victims and other folks who put up with these types of brutal, loathe-based mostly assaults have earned justice and to are living devoid of panic in our communities. We will carry on to vigorously implement federal rules that defend civil legal rights and combat bias-motivated violence.”

“No a single really should be afraid to go browsing or truly feel like they could be targeted by an act of violence based on their race, ethnicity, faith, disability, sexual orientation, gender or gender identification, country of nationwide origin, or immigration status,” Unique Agent in Charge Jeffrey Downey of the FBI El Paso Subject Business office mentioned in the push launch. “Acts of hate and racism have no area in our group and will not be tolerated. The FBI encourages people who have been victims or witnessed a dislike criminal offense to get in touch with the FBI at 1-800-Phone-FBI.”

The situation was investigated by the Midland Police Office and the FBI. The scenario is becoming prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Lawyer Glenn Harwood of the Western District of Texas and Demo Attorney Angie Cha of the Civil Legal rights Division’s Criminal Portion.