Jose Gomez III Pleads Guilty to Hate Crime After Attack on Asian Family

Jose Gomez III Pleads Guilty to Hate Crime After Attack on Asian Family
Bawi Cung seated with his children at home, before he and his two sons were attacked last March 2020 at Sam’s Club in Midland, Texas. | Image by Bawi Cung via AP

Jose Gomez III from Midland, Texas, pleaded guilty to hate-crime charges on February 23 following a March 2020 knife attack on an Asian family.

According to a statement by the U.S. Department of Justice, Jose Gomez III is charged with three hate-crime counts after he attacked Bawi Cung and his 6-year-old son at a Midland Sam’s Club. 

Court documents say that Gomez admittedly followed Cung and his two children into a store, then took a “serrated steak knife” from a display in the store and attacked the father. He later went to get an eight-inch knife and slashed Cung and his 6-year-old son. He also wounded a store employee who tried to prevent him from killing the 6-year-old.

Gomez slashed Cung in the face, and his son was cut millimeters from his right eye to the back of his skull. The blade split his right ear.

According to court documents, Jose Gomez III said that he thought Cung and his son were Chinese. He blamed China for the COVID-19 pandemic and perceived the family as a threat. Cung and his son are Burmese.

According to the Justice Department, Gomez yelled at the Asian family, “Get out of America,” as he was held down on the ground after the attack.

“The defendant violently and horrifically attacked an unsuspecting innocent family because of how they looked and where he thought they came from,” U.S. Attorney Ashley C. Hoff of the Western District of Texas said. Hoff further said that hate-based violence would not be tolerated. 

“These victims and others who suffer such brutal, hate-based attacks deserve justice and to live without fear in our communities,” Hoff continued. “We will continue to vigorously enforce federal laws that protect civil rights and combat bias-motivated violence.”

Special Agent in Charge Jeffrey Downey of the FBI El Paso Field Office also condemned such acts of hate and racism, saying they will not be tolerated.

According to the statement, Jose Gomez III could be sentenced to life in prison and a fine of $250,000 for each offense.

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