MIDLAND, Texas (TNZT) — A Texas man has been sentenced to 25 years in prison for assaulting an Asian family in 2020 because he believed they were Chinese and therefore responsible for the COVID-19 pandemic, according to federal court records
Jose Gomez III, 21, of Midland, Texas, was convicted Thursday after pleading guilty to three charges of committing a hate crime.
When he pleaded guilty in March, Gomez admitted to using a knife to cut Bawi Cung and his 6- and 2-year-old sons at a Sam’s Club in Midland because he believed they were Chinese and were spreading the coronavirus. Bawi Cung is from Myanmar.
The March 2020 attack came as Asians faced verbal harassment and physical assault in the United States after the virus began to spread across the country.
Gomez did not know the family when he followed them into the store, federal authorities said in a statement. He followed them for several minutes because he considered them a “threat” because they “came from the country that started to spread the disease,” the statement said.
Gomez then bought a serrated steak knife and cut the three before a Sam’s Club employee intervened and stopped the attack while Gomez said “Get out of America,” prosecutors said.