Mahud Villalaz and his family are still reeling from a horrific act of violence, which he is calling a hate crime. The 42-year-old father of two young boys endured burns to his face and neck on Friday night after a white man threw battery acid on him. Police have now arrested a 61-year-old white male suspect in the crime, but they have yet to press charges.
The crime occurred in a neighborhood in Milwaukee called Lincoln Village. Villalaz said he parked his car in front of a Mexican restaurant when the suspect told him he was parking too close to the bus stop. Villalaz then moved his vehicle to another block. When he returned to the Mexican restaurant, the suspect again confronted him. The entire crime was caught on surveillance video.
According to Villalaz, the man accosted him about coming to the country to “invade” and also accused him of being “illegal.” Villalaz said the man didn’t let up with his hateful words about not being a citizen. Villalaz is a Peruvian immigrant who came to the country more than 19 years ago and is an American citizen. The suspect, who was holding a bottle of some sort, then doused him with what medical personnel is calling battery acid.
“Thank God he didn’t have a gun and shoot me,” Villalaz said, according to a local ABC News affiliate. Villalaz is now recovering at home from his burns, which are visible to his face, as police continue to investigate this possible hate crime.
“This anger towards people from other countries is being fed by our president and by his followers,” Mayor Tom Barrett of Milwaukee said yesterday, according to the New York Times. “What we saw over the weekend is a manifestation of that anger.”
The family of Villalaz is now raising money to help him with medical bills and should include therapy for him and his sons.
“Today, my brother can’t see with his left eye, and half of his face is burned,” Priscilla Villalaz stated on GofundMe. “We know the hospital bills will soon be coming from the care he received. My family and I will be helping him with the bills, but we will not be able to help 100 percent with all of the bills. My brother is a welder. Because of his injuries, he will not be able to work until his burns heal, and he is fully recovered…His eyesight has been affected, and he will need to have followed up care.”
Click here to contribute to his GoFundme.