On the Fourth of July, 91-year-old Rodolfo Rodriguez went on his walk as he always does. People in the neighborhood have come to know Rodriguez because even at his age, the man continues to be as active as he can. That all ended that day when a woman, along with a group of others, viciously attacked him in what is suspected to be a hate crime.
Rodriguez, who was visiting his family from Michoacan, Mexico, went on his walk (a typical routine when he visits) in Willowbrook, California when a woman and a little girl passed on him on the sidewalk. According to a witness and Rodriguez’s account, the woman began to attack him and then had other men join in to beat him up as well. The attackers used a concrete block to instill bigger blows onto Rodriguez.
Misbel Borjas tells CNN that she was driving by and witnessed the attack.
“I heard her saying, go back to your country, go back to Mexico,” Borjas told CNN. “When I tried to videotape her with my cell phone, she threw that same concrete block, tried to hit my car.”
Borjas was able to get some footage of a badly beaten Rodriguez after the assailants were done with him.
“We are concerned, especially with the type of crime they committed,” Sheriff’s Deputy D’Angelo Robinson said on KTLA. “There was what appears to be a 4-year-old child there who witnessed the entire thing. We can’t have these kind of people like that out in the streets.”
The suspects remain at large.
His family is asking people to help with medical bills, which will be extensive considering he will need even more assistance to deal with the trauma long after his physical injuries have healed. And people have already come through in such a huge way.
In just three days, people have contributed more than $100,000 to their GoFundme account. They have left Rodriguez and his family heartfelt messages including Jeffrey Coaster who wrote: “To Señor Rodriguez and His Family: All decent people are horrified by this incident. I am ashamed that a guest in this country was treated this way. Please accept the apologies and gifts that we offer, along with all God’s blessings, for your recovery. Alice Wells wrote: “I am so deeply sorry this happened to you. You deserve a much better America. We all do. May you heal and live stronger, surrounded by community and love.”
According to The Sacramento Bee, California has reported an increase in hate crimes against Latinos since Donald Trump took office. They report that crimes against Latinos have increased by 50 percent.
Click here if you’d like to help the Rodriguez family and/or would like to leave him a message of encouragement.