The suspect admitted to the police "that he stabbed the family because he thought the family was Chinese, and infecting people with the coronavirus."
As the novel Coronavirus pandemic picks up speed around the globe, there has been a worrying increase in racist attacks against those of Asian descent. In a new FBI analysis obtained by ABC News, the bureau warned of this trend, detailing a March 14 incident in Midland, Texas, in which "three Asian American family members, including a 2-year-old and 6-year-old, were stabbed." According to the document, the suspect Jose Gomez, 19, admitted to police "that he stabbed the family because he thought the family was Chinese, and infecting people with the coronavirus."
Asian-American family, including 6 & 2-year-old, stabbed at Sam's Club in Texas.— Dr. Nina Niu Sanford (@NiuSanford) April 1, 2020
The suspect indicated he stabbed the family because he thought the family was Chinese, and infecting people with coronavirus.
Hits close to home on many levels. Sickened.https://t.co/OzjwBRGJib
Gregg Orton, national director of the National Council of Asian Pacific Americans, told the network that the intelligence document "is an indication of how serious the problem is. We need to stop dismissing this. It’s easy to dismiss racism when it doesn’t impact you." Meanwhile, the FBI informed Buzzfeed News on Wednesday that Gomez could face hate crime charges for the incident that took place at a Sam's Club in Texas. Gomez was reportedly taken down by an employee named Zach Owen who suffered stab wounds while trying to save the family.
My brother stopped a mass stabbing today. Here is the father of the family of the family that was attacked with a cut across his face, both of his kids were attacked and cut across the face as well before by brother tackled and disarmed the attacker— payton (@OwenPayton) March 15, 2020
A Promotion @SamsClub ?? pic.twitter.com/FtbBh5vEsN
The suspect was then taken into custody by Bernie Ramirez, an off-duty Border Patrol agent, and charged with three counts of attempted capital murder and one count of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. Ramirez previously told CBS7 that when he first saw the fight in the store, he'd assumed it was a scruffle over scarce goods. "My initial thought was it was just the shortage of items that they were fighting over. So I just started making my way over there to break it up," he said. The Border Patrol agent added that credit is due to Owen for saving the family. "Credit where credit is due. Zach stepped in. He went into a knife fight bare-handed. He took control of the individual and he disarmed him. If Zach had not been there, things could’ve gone really badly," said Ramirez.
Someone in Midland, TX stabbed a TWO YEAR OLD CHILD "because he thought the family was Chinese, and infecting people with coronavirus."— #TestAndTrace #MTFC Stan Account (@csilverandgold) March 31, 2020
THIS IS WHY WE DON'T CALL IT THE FUCKING 'CHINESE' VIRUS YOU COMPLETE AND TOTAL DUMBFUCKS.https://t.co/OHGDsMZ41H
"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," the bureau states in the intelligence report, which was compiled by the FBI’s Houston office and distributed to local law enforcement agencies across the country. "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."
Hear from one of the men who stopped the Midland Sam's Club attack https://t.co/sFHLBscWGm— Matthew Alvarez (@MatthewCBS7) March 17, 2020
Meanwhile, the President himself has been perpetuating these problematic tropes, repeatedly referring to the novel Coronavirus as the "Chinese Virus" or some other variant of the same. Rather than correct himself, Trump defended his language when questioned about it, claiming that it’s simply a way of reminding people where the outbreak originated. He also denied that the term is racist or that the term offensive to those of Asian descent. "It did come from China," he said during a White House briefing. "It is a very accurate term."
Two days later, however, the President vaguely addressed the increasing racially-motivated attacks, saying: "We have to protect our Asian Americans." Alas, in a White House briefing that followed, Trump couldn't provide details about any specific measures he was taking to protect the Asian American community. "Maybe it is China’s fault or the [Chinese] government’s fault," said Orton. "There will be a time and place for that conversation. But right now we’re in the thick of this and we have to be mindful of the language we’re using."