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San Jose City Councilwoman Rose Herrera is offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to the arrests of those responsible for attacking an East Indian man in November in what police are calling a hate crime. The attack happened the night of Nov. 21 in the parking lot of a Lucky’s store at 3270 South White Road in San Jose. The victim, 32-year-old Atul Lall, had gone to Lucky’s to pick up ingredients for Thanksgiving dinner.
As he was backing out of his parking space at about 9 p.m., three men approached him and one of them called him a “terrorist.” Another suspect then opened Lall’s door.”He said, ‘Why are you staring at my friend?'” Lall recounted. That’s when the first suspect began hitting him in the head with a large tequila bottle. Lall said the suspects poured alcohol on him, spit on him and tried to pull off a scarf he was wearing around hisneck. One suspect told him, “Don’t fight back, I have a gun,” Lall said.
Even though there were other people around, “no one helped me,” he said. His family drove him to a hospital, where he was treated for a gash on his chin, six broken teeth, a broken jaw, and head and neck trauma. The suspects remain at large, and detectives are investigating the case as a hate crime. Lall was speaking at a news conference at the San Jose Police Department this morning at which Herrera announced that her office is offering the reward.
“An attack against one person in our community is an attack against all of us, and I take that very seriously,” Herrera said. “We want to make sure this never happens again.” Lall, an industrial designer who lives in Herrera’s council district, said he is frustrated with the slow pace of the investigation. He said it took officers four hours to respond the night of the attack and two and a half weeks to complete the police report.
After six weeks, Lall called police and requested a sketch artist himself. “I just think it’s not right,” he said. “I was supposed to be healing and recovering.” He said he doesn’t feel hopeful there will be any resolution in the case.”I feel like too much time has elapsed,” Lall said. Detectives are reviewing surveillance footage and awaiting lab results of evidence recovered on the night of the attack.
“Hate crimes are absolutely intolerable,” Police Chief Chris Moore said today. “We will investigate vigorously and prosecute any person who is involved in a hate crime or hate incident in our jurisdiction. It is critical for people to understand they need to report these types of crimes.” Santa Clara County prosecutor Erin West said there were 31 hate crimes reported in 2010, 19 of which were prosecuted, and 13 reported last year, six of which were prosecuted.San Jose police have released a sketch of one of the suspects in the attack. He is described as a heavyset Hispanic man in his 20s with a medium complexion, standing at 5 feet 6 inches tall.
He has black hair and brown eyes and was wearing tan clothing.Little information is available about the second suspect, other than that he is a white man in his 20s who was wearing black or dark-colored clothing.The third suspect is a Hispanic or white man, about 5 feet 7 inches tall. He was wearing sweats.
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