A father was left badly disfigured after a racist doused him with acid during an argument over a parking spot, he said.
Mahud Villalaz, 42, said his attacker falsely accused him of being in the US illegally right before splashing battery acid in his face on Friday.
According to police, Villalaz parked his truck outside a Mexican food restaurant in Milwaukee, Wisconsin when he was approached by the 61-year-old man who reportedly began berating him.
Villalaz recalled: ‘(He said) “You cannot park here. You are doing something illegal…Why did you come here an invade my country.”‘
Ignoring the man, Villalaz drove his truck a block further and parked – but the man had been waiting for him at the restaurant with a silver, metal bottle.
‘The man was still there, stopped on the corner, awaiting me with an open bottle,’ Villalaz said.
Villalaz, who is a US citizen from Peru, explained to the man that he was in the country legally. He originally thought the bottle contained liquor.
He said the man ‘got mad’ at his explanation and splashed him in the face with liquid from the bottle, which seared the left side of his face.
Villalaz turned his head and attempted to defend himself, ‘but then it started burning really bad,’ he said.
‘I started screaming for help. I went to the restaurant to try to wash myself. I was really scared. I thought he was going to run behind me.’
‘But thank God nothing else happened. Thank God he didn’t have a gun and I have my life,’ he said.
The Milwaukee Police Department told ABC News that they arrested Villalaz’s attacker, who they have charged with aggravated battery, although they have not released his identity.
Villalaz suffered second-degree burns and discoloring on his face where the acid burned him. His left eye was also damaged.
‘It’s the first time in my life I’ve experienced someone’s hate like that,’ he said.
‘My son calls me today – “Daddy, what happened with you?” And what (can I) tell him? Some crazy guy did this to me.’
Local leaders and Latino advocacy groups are now calling for Villalaz’s alleged attacker to be charged with a hate crime.
State Representative JoCasta Zamarrippa told the Journal Sentinel: ‘I’m angry that an innocent man has been so viciously attacked. I’m angry that a racist was able to live out his beliefs through violence against one of my constituents.’
Darryl Morin, head of advocacy group Forward Latino, said: ‘I don’t see how it could be anything else, as this is, sadly and tragically, a textbook case of hate. I dare say it was premeditated – because no one walks around with a bottle of acid and hangs out in a predominantly Latino neighborhood for no reason.’
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