A Utah man was arrested by Salt Lake City police this week after he allegedly beat a father and son at their tire shop, shouting that he “f*cking hated Mexicans” and was there to “kill a Mexican.”
Salt Lake City police charged Alan Dale Covington, 50, on suspicion of two counts of aggravated assault. It is unclear if he will be charged with a hate crime, The Salt Lake Tribune reported Friday.
Jose Lopez was warming up chicken soup in the back office on Tuesday when he heard his son screaming from the garage, the newspaper reported.
Lopez ran to the front door where he discovered a man standing in the courtyard of the Salt Lake City mechanic shop “with a metal bar in his hand that looked like it had been plied off a stop sign.”
He was yelling slurs at his 18-year-old son, Luis Gustavo Lopez, and threatening him with the 5-foot pole.
“I hate Mexicans,” the man allegedly yelled. “I f—ing hate Mexicans.”
“Are you part of the Mexican mafia? I’m here to kill a Mexican.”
The man allegedly began swinging the metal pole when Jose Lopez jumped in front of his son.
Luis Gustavo Lopez tried to defend his dad with a toolbar but was struck in the face and knocked unconscious by the attacker, the paper reported.
His father suffered injuries to his arm and back trying to protect his son.
The attacker ran off when another family member came to check on the commotion.
Luis Gustavo Lopez has been fighting for his life in the intensive care unit since the incident, suffering from a shattered cheekbone and eye socket, as well as a collapsed sinus, the newspaper noted.
Doctors had to implant a titanium plate on the right side of his face as a result of the attack.
Jose Lopez required eight stitches in his arm and has a bruised back from the attack.
“My family feels targeted,” said his daughter, Veronica Lopez. “They are very shaken up.”
The Lopez family has experienced a surge in racial slurs since President Trump took office, Veronica Lopez said.
“You just hear more of it now,” she said, adding that they were not surprised the attack happened.