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  • Jose Gomez III attacked a Burmese family at a Sam’s Club, mistaking them for Chinese.
  • According to police, Gomez believed they were “from a country that started spreading the disease.”
  • Gomez was sentenced to 25 years in prison for hate crimes.

A Texas man has been sentenced to 25 years in prison on federal hate crime charges after he attacked an Asian family at Sam’s Club — accusing them of spreading COVID-19, federal prosecutors said Thursday.

Jose Gomez III, 21, pleaded guilty to stalking a Burmese family with intent to kill at a Sam’s Club warehouse in Midland, Texas in March 2020, According to a release from the Department of Justice.

The family includes a father and his two children aged 6 and 2.

According to the statement, Gomez identified the family as Chinese and viewed them as a threat because they “come from a country that started spreading the disease.” He then followed them around the store for a few minutes before leaving them to find a serrated steak knife in the store.

Prosecutors said Gomez came back and punched his father in the face, slashing him with a knife, and then told them to retrieve an 8-inch knife from the store.

Gomez then returned with a knife and attacked the children sitting in the basket of the shopping cart – slicing the 6-year-old’s face, the statement said.

According to the statement, the knife entered a millimeter from the child’s right eye and cut open his right ear.

According to the statement, Gomez would then stab a Sam’s Club employee who intervened to prevent him from attacking the family further.

According to the release, Gomez yelled “Get out of America” ​​at the Asian family while being pinned down by Sam’s Club employees.

The Justice Department noted a surge in hate crimes against Asian Americans, largely driven by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Hate-motivated violence will simply not be tolerated in our society, and everyone should feel safe from this vicious harm,” U.S. Attorney Ashley Hough said in a statement. “Today’s verdict. Sending a loud and clear message that our office will aggressively prosecute federal hate crimes while delivering justice for the victims.”

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