Man Who Attacked Asian Family in Sam's Club Gets 25 Years

Jose Gomez III said his victims were 'from the country who started spreading that disease around'
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 8, 2022 8:14 AM CDT
Man Who Attacked Asian Family in Sam's Club Gets 25 Years
This Feb. 23, 2018, file photo shows shoppers leaving a Sam's Club in Pittsburgh.   (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar, File)

A Texas man has been sentenced to 25 years behind bars on hate crime charges after attacking an Asian family in a Midland Sam's Club at the start of the pandemic. The Washington Post reports that 21-year-old Jose Gomez, who pleaded guilty in February to those charges, heard his fate Thursday, more than two years after he followed an Asian family around the warehouse club, then attacked them. Per a Justice Department release, Gomez entered the Sam's Club behind the family, which included a 6-year-old and a 2-year-old, on March 14, 2020, tailing them as they made their way around the store. He believed they were Chinese and a threat, as they were "from the country who started spreading that disease around."

Gomez found a serrated steak knife in the store and bent it so it wrapped around his hand with the sharp part sticking out. He then approached the father and punched him in the face with the makeshift weapon, cutting him. Gomez then left to find another weapon, this time an 8-inch knife, and returned to the family, slashing the 6-year-old sitting in the front of the shopping cart, with the knife's blade entering just millimeters from the little boy's eye. It "split his right ear, and wrapped around to the back of his skull." When a white Sam's Club worker jumped into the fray to help the family, Gomez then stabbed him, yelling "Get out of America!" at the Asian family as the employee held him on the ground.

"Pandemic-driven and racially motivated acts of violence are deplorable crimes, and the Justice Department stands ready to use our hate crimes laws to hold perpetrators accountable," says Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the DOJ's Civil Rights Division. Per Midland County District Attorney Laura Nodolf, Gomez also has pending state charges against him in the case for attempted murder and aggravated assault, which Texas will now take action on, reports KWES. Nearly 11,000 anti-Asian incidents have taken place between the start of the pandemic and December of last year, according to the nonprofit Stop AAPI Hate. (Read more Sam's Club stories.)

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