Elderly Pinoy attacked in California park in suspected hate crime

Steve Angeles, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 08 2021 10:59 AM

An elderly Filipino man sustained a black eye after he was punched by a white man who first verbally attacked him and his wife while walking in a park in Cerritos, California over the weekend in another suspected hate crime against Asians in the US. 

Cesar Echano and his wife were enjoying their weekly Saturday morning walk through Cerritos Regional Park when they encountered a man in his 20s who proceeded to verbally assault them.

Steve Angeles, ABS-CBN News

He said the assailant kept swearing at them and told them to go back to their country.

Fearing he may be armed, the couple made it to their car parked about a quarter mile away on the other side of the park. 

But the attacker threw a punch at the 70-year-old retired health worker while he sat with his seatbelt on the passenger's side of their car.

"Pagbukas ng pinto rito , boom! 'Yung misis ko nagda-drive nasa passenger seat ako. Kitang-kita ko umikot 'yung kamay niya. Ang bilis ng pangyayari, ang bilis. Nakalabas 'yung paa ko kasi na-outbalance na ako nung pagsuntok, sabi ng misis ko 'wag kang lalabas, isara mo ang pinto. Sabi ko picture, picture. Nadukot ko cellphone ko umatras siya tapos napaandar na ng misis ko 'yung kotse," Echano said.

(He opened the door and boom! My wife was going to drive, I saw it coming, as it was happening so fast. He ran back, my foot was out the door because I was out of balance from the punch, my wife told me to not to get out and close the door.) 

The couple said they drove off before they could capture any pictures of the assailant. They pulled over a few blocks away to call police and file a report.

Echano then spent a day in the hospital and is now recovering from his injuries from the attack with some antibiotics. 

"Medyo parang duling pa ako sa mata na ito (right eye) pero nag-improve na ito kasi naimumulat ko na siya. Medyo masakit pa rin," he said.

(I can't seem to focus my eye here still, but it has improved today. Yesterday I couldn’t open it. It's still hurting.)

To get them through this traumatic encounter, Echano said he and his wife have turned to their friends from Glory to Glory Church for support.

He also said he would not let this horrific experience disrupt his life. He plans to continue his regular walks, but perhaps not at this park. He said they'll most likely park their car closer to where there are more people. 

Echano hopes potential witnesses and possibly residents or businesses with CCTV could provide some evidence in hopes of identifying the attacker. 

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