An elderly Asian man is recovering from what authorities believe was a targeted attack in southeast San Diego on Friday morning.
What happened: Mark Sonouvong, 81, was on his usual morning walk around 10 a.m. when a man allegedly approached him and asked him questions about his ethnicity. Sonouvong refused to answer and was later assaulted, according to a family member.
The incident allegedly took place on Imperial Avenue near Escuela Street in the Lincoln Park neighborhood, according to The San Diego Union Tribune.
“A guy came over and asked, ‘Are you Chinese or Vietnamese?’ and my brother-in-law said to leave me alone, ”said Dennis Lambert, who visited Sonouvong in the hospital. CBS News 8.
Lambert said the suspect then pushed Sonouvong to the ground and repeatedly punched him. The attack reportedly left the 81-year-old with multiple injuries, including a punctured left eye and a laceration to his forehead.
“The guy kicked himself in the ribs pretty well and [gave him a] bleeding nose [and a] big, big black eye, ”Lambert said. “He was pretty roughed up when I went to see him.
The following : Sonouvong was taken to Scripps Mercy Hospital, where he was still recovering on Sunday morning. Meanwhile, San Diego Police are investigating the attack as a hate crime.
API Initiative Director of government and public relations JoAnn Fields said Friday’s attack was the third on an Asian senior in San Diego. The API Initiative team is proposing a “rapid response action plan” to raise awareness, stimulate data collection and improve overall safety in the city.
“Currently, we do not have a formal structure [of reporting]”said Fields KUSI News, adding that they need funds for implementation. “This is what we have to do in order to be able to create a website, to have videos in [multiple] languages as well [that] we can reach out to the community, extract the information and disseminate it as soon as possible.
Fields said they were told that Sonouvong’s assailant was a Caucasian male. No arrests have been made at the time of writing.
Featured Image Via CBS 8
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