A Texas man was charged with a hate crime after allegedly saying racial slurs and punching a man during an altercation in Florida.

Wade Anton, 54, was visiting Okaloosa Island, Fla., last week, when he “told a woman and her children, who are of Asian descent, to ‘go back where they came from’ and made racial slur” on Thursday, according to a Friday statement from the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office.

Anton told the sheriff’s office that the woman and her children were petting his dogs and “ignored him when he asked them to leave the dogs alone.”


The woman’s husband alleged that, although he was initially approximately 25 feet away from the man, Anton ran towards him and began punching him.

The man pulled a handgun out “to protect himself,” according to the Friday statement. 

Bystanders separated the men. None of the victims were seriously injured.

Anton was charged with a hate-crime related battery, according to authorities. He is being held on a $10,000 bond as he awaits a hearing date, according to booking information from the Okaloosa Department of Corrections. 

The U.S. has seen an uptick in anti-Asian hate crimes over the last year. Hate crime data from the Center for the Study of Hate & Extremism at California State University-San Bernardino released in April found that hate crimes against Asian Americans rose by 169 percent when comparing the first quarter of 2020 to the first quarter of 2021 in 15 major cities.

President BidenJoe BidenFive takeaways from the Ohio special primaries FDA aims to give full approval to Pfizer vaccine by Labor Day: report Overnight Defense: Police officer killed in violence outside Pentagon | Biden officials back repeal of Iraq War authorization | NSC pushed to oversee 'Havana Syndrome' response MORE last month signed into law legislation aimed at combatting the rise in hate crimes amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The legislation is designed to improve hate crime tracking, bolster support for state and local officials investigating hate crimes and more.