“Go back to Mexico,” a 30-year-old black woman shouted at an elderly Latino man on July 4 as she allegedly pushed him to the ground, kicked him, and beat him with a brick.
Laquisha Jones was arrested Tuesday night and charged with assault with a deadly weapon in the brutal mob attack on 92-year-old Rodolfo Rodriguez, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. Jones is being held on $250,000 bail.
Authorities are still searching for four other assailants allegedly involved in the beating of Rodriguez, who is recovering from bruised ribs, a broken cheekbone, and face and head injuries, according to KTLA.
“How can you hurt a 92-year-old man? What kind of threat does he pose to you, for you to do this to him?” Erik Mendoza, Rodriguez’s grandson, asked. “That’s why we’re still in shock, as you can see he’s badly injured,” Mendoza told KTLA.
Last Wednesday, Rodriguez was on his daily walk around the Willowbrook neighborhood in Los Angeles when he encountered Jones and her 4-year-old daughter, the Los Angeles Times reported. Jones claimed that Rodriguez had tried to push his way past them, according to neighbor Misbel Borjas, who witnessed the incident.
The neighbor said Jones started yelling at Rodriguez, who is a permanent U.S. resident. “She was yelling at him, ‘Go back to your country,’ or ‘Go back to Mexico,’” Borjas told the Times. “It was racist.”
Jones allegedly pushed the grandfather to the ground, kicked him, and hit him with a brick. Borjas said she tried to record the incident—but then Jones threatened her and accused Rodriguez of attempting to “snatch” her daughter.
“I tried to help him, but the lady said, ‘If you come over here I’ll hit your car with the same brick,” Borjas told The Washington Post.
After the neighbor called 911, several men showed up and allegedly pummeled the elderly man with Jones, according to the Times. Rodriguez pleaded with his attackers, asking, “Why? Why are you hitting me?”
“Please go away,” the elderly man begged them in Spanish, according to Borjas. The mob fled when they realized authorities were on the way, she said.
An investigation is ongoing, and the weapon used during the assault has yet to be found, according to CBS Los Angeles.
The brutal Independence Day beating garnered national attention when images of Rodriguez’s bloody face surfaced online. A GoFundMe created for the grandfather’s medical expenses has already raised over $270,000.
Rodriguez’s attack comes as reports show that hate crimes in California increased 17 percent from 2016 to 2017, according to Department of Justice data released Monday.
Crimes against Latinos were up 52 percent last year in the state, the data showed.
“We are concerned, especially with the type of crime they committed,” Sheriff’s Deputy D’Angelo Robinson told KTLA. “We can't have these kind of people like that out in the streets,” Robinson added.