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Police: Hammer-Wielding Woman Arrested After Out-Of-Town Visitors Targeted In Alleged Racist Rant

HOUSTON (CBS Local) -- A couple visiting Houston over the Memorial Day holiday says they were victims of a racially-motivated public tirade by a woman carrying a hammer.

Dr. Lia Franco and her husband, Arturo Cordovez, are natives of Ecuador who live in New Orleans. Dr. Franco has been treating COVID-19 patients, so the couple decided to spend the Memorial Day holiday in Houston to unwind. The couple was looking for a restaurant near South Shepherd and Westheimer roads in southwest Houston on Sunday when they noticed a woman following in a car behind them.

"So we stopped a little bit on the side and she was still there," Franco told KPRC.

"She stopped behind us," Cordovez said. "After that she started showing a hammer through the mirror. She was shaking her arm ... and cursing at us I think. I was thinking what did I do?"

The couple said they called 911 and turned into a gas station where the woman pulled beside them and started screaming.

"And we go, 'What do you want?'" Franco said. "And she screamed, 'You Mexicans, get out of my f**ing country. Go back to your f**ing country.'"

KPRC aired brief video and still images of the woman as she got out of her car, waving a hammer in her hand. Before the situation escalated further, however, the police arrived and took her into custody.

Constance Lynn Bono, 60, was charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. The charge could be upgraded if prosecutors believe racism was the motive, KPRC reported.

"I think she needs help, she needs treatment, but that doesn't justify the fact she needs to follow the laws of her country," Dr. Franco said.

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