AN elderly Filipino American man was reportedly the victim of a violent carjacking in Oakland, California earlier this month.
The 65-year-old unnamed victim was allegedly attacked and carjacked at gunpoint on Thursday, April 8, outside an Oakland Food Maxx grocery store, according to a report from NBC Bay Area.
The victim’s niece, Sara Guillermo, said he works as a driver for Lyft and relies on his car as his sole source of income, which is why he put up a fight for his vehicle.
“He was hit over the head with a gun and he was trying to stop him from taking his car. So, he put his body to get in the way of getting inside the vehicle and the person took off with his car and dragged his body in the parking lot,” she told NBC Bay Area.
Guillermo also claimed that the attack was motivated by racism.
“While they were trying to steal his car, they thought he was Chinese, so they were talking about COVID and being an Asian American in America,” she said.
The victim was sent to Highland Hospital, where he was treated for non-life-threatening injuries.
According to Guillermo, her uncle is scared that his attacker might return for him.
“He’s scared. This happened just blocks away from their home and so we don’t want to create friction with what is already happening in the community,” she told NBC Bay Area.
Stop AAPI Hate, a national coalition that tracks anti-Asian American discrimination, reported that from March 19, 2020 to February 28, 2021, it has received 3,795 firsthand incidents of racism and discrimination from all 50 states and the District of Columbia, as previously reported by the Asian Journal.
Of that number, 503 incidents took place in the first two months of 2021 alone.
Guillermo and her family have taken to social media to ask for help from the public in finding the stolen vehicle.
Anyone who sees a white Toyota Corolla with the California license plate “8GMA097” is now being urged to call the Oakland Police Department at the Crime Stoppers line at (510) 777-8572 or its anonymous tip line at (510) 238-7950.