ORANGE (CBSLA) — A 25-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of assaulting an elderly Korean American couple and threatening a Japanese American Olympian in Orange.
Michael Vivona, of Corona, was arrested Sunday and faces hate crime charges of elder abuse and making criminal threats.
"We believe that this attack was racially motivated based on our investigation and our interview that happened afterwards," Orange Police Department Sgt. Phil McMullin said. "He specifically said that he had a hate towards the Asian community."
The Orange Police Department says Vivona punched a 79-year-old man and an 80-year-old woman who were out for a walk on Sunday. He is also suspected of berating U.S. Olympian and karate athlete Sakura Kokumai on April 1. Both incidents happened at Grijalva Park in Orange, and police say Vivona made a confession after his arrest.
Kokumai said she didn't know the man yelling at her and threatening to hurt her for no reason, but she said what hurt more was that no one else at the crowded park responded to the man's tirade.
"In that moment, I thought, 'gosh, this guy is just crazy.' But when I zoomed out I realized there were a lot of people at the park," Kokumai wrote in an Instagram post. "Yes a women did come up and asked if I was ok towards the end as it escalated…but for the longest time no one cared. People would walk by, some even smiled. And I didn't know what to do."
Vivona is being held on $65,000 bail and is scheduled to appear in court Wednesday.
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