FBI may charge man who attacked Asian Americans over coronavirus with hate crime: report

FBI may charge man who attacked Asian Americans over coronavirus with hate crime: report
© JOHANNES EISELE/AFP via Getty Images

The FBI may charge a Texas man who was arrested for allegedly trying to kill an Asian American family of three because he thought they were spreading COVID-19 with a hate crime.

On March 14, 19-year-old Jose Gomez stabbed three people at the Midland, Texas, Sam's Club before being subdued by an employee, authorities told BuzzFeed News

Gomez was then taken into custody by an off-duty Border Patrol officer and charged with three counts of attempted capital murder and one count of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.

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In a statement obtained by ABC News, Gomez said he stabbed the family because he "thought the family was Chinese, and infecting people with the coronavirus."

An FBI spokesperson confirmed to BuzzFeed that the case is being handled as a possible hate crime.

According to the publication, separate FBI reports reveal that there could be a spike in hate crimes against Asian Americans due to the pandemic.

"The FBI assesses hate crime incidents against Asian-Americans likely will surge across the United States, due to the spread of coronavirus disease ... endangering Asian-American communities," the document reportedly reads. "The FBI makes this assessment based on the assumption that a portion of the U.S. public will associate COVID-19 with China and Asian-American populations."

President TrumpDonald John TrumpDonald Trump and Joe Biden create different narratives for the election The hollowing out of the CDC Poll: Biden widens lead over Trump to 10 points MORE has often referred to COVID-19 as the "Chinese virus," a phrase that has been labeled insensitive, derogatory and racist. The president has steadfastly stood by his words, claiming that the phrase isn't racist because of COVID-19's origin, which is believed to be Wuhan, China.