A couple visiting Houston from New Orleans say they were confronted by a hammer-wielding woman because she apparently mistook them as being Mexican citizens.
Arturo Cordovez and his wife, Dr. Lia Franco, are natives of Ecuador who currently live in New Orleans where Lia is finishing her medical residency, reports KPRC-TV.
The local station reports that Dr. Franco has been treating COVID-19 patients day after day for the last few months. The couple decided to spend the weekend in Houston over the Memorial Day holiday to unwind and decompress.
The couple set out on Sunday afternoon to look for a restaurant in southwest Houston when they noticed a woman following in a car behind them.
“So we stopped a little bit on the side and she was still there,” Dr. Franco said.
“She stopped behind us,” Arturo Cordovez said. “After that she started showing a hammer through the mirror. She was shaking her arm … and cursing at us I think. I was thinking what did I do?”
The couple called 911 and pulled their car into a gas station where the woman continued to follow them.
Dr. Franco said that’s when the woman pulled beside them and started screaming.
“And we go what do you want?” Dr. Franco said. “And she said screamed ‘You Mexicans, get out of my F**ing country. Go back to your F**ing country.’”
The woman got out of her car, with a hammer and seemed to be threatening them with it.
That’s when police arrived and took the woman into custody.
Constance Lynn Bono, 60, was arrested Sunday and charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, a second-degree felony with a punishment range of up to 20 years in prison. But if prosecutors believe racism was the motive, the charge could be enhanced to a first-degree felony, with a punishment range of up to life in prison. She remains in jail as of Tuesday, KPRC-TV reports.
“I think she needs help, she needs treatment, but that doesn’t justify the fact she needs to follow the laws of her country,” Dr. Franco said. “If she broke the laws here, she needs to pay for what she did. But for me as a physician, I think the most important thing is she needs treatment, she needs help.”
The case is expected to be referred to a grand jury.
RawStory reports that Bono’s Facebook page “is filled with soft-focus selfies and content from black Trump supporters Terrence K. Williams and the Hodge Twins.”