Man Stabs Asian Family At Sam's Club, Accuses Them Of Spreading Coronavirus
Midland, TX – A 19 year old said he attacked and stabbed an Asian-American family shopping at a Sam’s Club because he thought they were infecting everybody in the store with coronavirus, and he has since also attacked deputies at the jail.
The incident occurred shortly before 7:30 pm on March 14 in the discount warehouse in Midland when 19-year-old Jose Gomez III wounded an adult male and his two-year-old and six-year-old children who were shopping, the Midland Reporter-Telegram reported.
The arrest affidavit said that a Sam’s employee named Zach Owen tried to stop Gomez from attacking the family but was stabbed in the leg in the process.
Owens fingers were also sliced up as he fought with Gomez for the knife, the Midland Reporter-Telegram reported.
Off-duty Border Patrol Agent Bernie Ramirez was shopping at the Sam’s Club when Gomez attacked, and he went to assist Owens.
“My initial thought was it was just the shortage of items that they were fighting over,” Agent Ramirez told KOSA. “So I just started making my way over there to break it up.”
“Zach stepped in,” he continued. “He went into a knife fight bare-handed. He took control of the individual and he disarmed him.”
“If Zach had not been there, things could’ve gone really badly,” Agent Ramirez added.
The off-duty law enforcement officer detained Gomez until Midland police arrived on the scene and took him into custody, the Midland Reporter-Telegram reported.
The arrest affidavit said that Gomez admitted to investigators upon questioning that he had attacked and stabbed the family because he “because he thought the family was Chinese and infecting people with the coronavirus,” ABC News reported.
Gomez has been charged with three counts of attempted capital murder and one count of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, according to the Midland Reporter-Telegram.
He is being held on a $300,000 bond for each attempted murder count, and another $100,000 bond for the aggravated assault.
Gomez’s charges may be upgraded to hate crimes following new guidance from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, FOX News reported.
Midland County District Attorney Laura Nodolf said in an affidavit that Gomez was being held in what is known as a “violent cell” in the Midland County Detention Center because he had made suicidal statements, KWES reported.
Inmates held in those cells are not permitted to shower, so after he had been there two days, three officers escorted Gomez to the showers to get cleaned up.
The affidavit said that after he finished showering, Gomez ambushed the officers who were guarding him, KWES reported.
Officers attempted to restrain Gomez unsuccessfully and after fighting with him for an extended period, they deployed a Taser to bring him under control.
Gomez is facing two additional charges of assault on a public servant.
He has not yet been indicted because the Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s emergency declaration for coronavirus prohibits gatherings of 12, which is what is required to convene a grand jury, KWES reported.