Texas Man Sentenced for Assaulting Asian Family at Sam’s Club

  • Jose Gomez III assaulted a Burmese family in Sam’s Club misidentifying them as Chinese.
  • Gomez believed they were “from the country who started spreading that disease around,” per police.
  • Gomez was sentenced to 25 years in prison on hate crime charges.

A Texas man was sentenced to 25 years in prison on federal hate crime charges after attacking an Asian family at Sam’s Club — blaming them for spreading COVID-19, federal prosecutors said on Thursday.

Jose Gomez III, 21, pleaded guilty to following a Burmese family in a Sam’s Club Warehouse in Midland, Texas in March 2020 with the intent to kill, according to a release by the Department of Justice.

The family included a father and his two young children, ages 6 and 2. 

According to the statement, Gomez believed the family was Chinese and perceived them as a threat because they were “from the country who started spreading that disease around.” He then followed them around the store for several minutes before leaving them to find a serrated steak knife in the store. 

Gomez returned and punched the father in the face, cutting him with the knife, then left them to retrieve an eight-inch knife from the store, according to prosecutors.

Gomez then returned with a knife to attack the children seated in the shopping cart basket — slashing open the face of the 6-year-old, according to the statement.

According to the statement, the knife entered a millimeter from the child’s right eye and split his right ear.

Gomez would then stab a Sam’s Club employee who intervened to stop him from assaulting the family further, per the statement.

According to the release, Gomez yelled at the Asian family to “Get out of America” while being pinned down by the Sam’s Club employee.

The Justice Department noted the increased spike in hate crimes against Asian Americans, largely prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“Hate-motivated violence will simply not be tolerated in our society and every person deserves to feel safe from such vicious harm,” said U.S. Attorney Ashley C. Hoff in a statement. “Today’s sentence sends the message loud and clear that our office will aggressively prosecute federal hate crimes while seeking justice for victims.”

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