SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) — San Francisco police were searching Monday for a man who wore a red “Make America Great Again” hat and used a sword to slash another man’s hand after an argument outside a roller-skating rink.
The assault happened about 10 p.m. Friday on the sidewalk outside the “Church of 8 Wheels,” a former church converted into a roller skate disco.
The man wearing the hat featuring President Donald Trump’s campaign slogan approached the victim and the two started arguing. When the victim tried to grab the hat, the attacker pulled out a sword and cut him, Officer Robert Rueca told the San Francisco Chronicle.
The attack left the man with a partially-severed hand police said. The unidentified victim was taken to the hospital with what were called “non-life threatening” injuries.
Scott Sweeney was inside when it happened but says, earlier, he and his girlfriend had been confronted by the same man in the MAGA hat making homophobic slurs.
“He was acting really nervous and strange and was kind of like walking around in circles and staring at us,” Sweeney said. “So we were weirded out.”
Police say during the dispute, the “MAGA” hat had been knocked from the suspect’s head. The skate rink’s owner, D. Miles, helped administer first aid to the victim. He, like many others, believes the hat was worn intentionally to pick a fight.
“Every time I see somebody wearing that hat they’re involved in some type of hate,” Miles said. “They hate this, they hate that, they hate them, they hate y’all…they hate whatever.”
“They are well aware that putting this hat on and showing up somewhere is going to have the impact of making others feel unwelcome, unsafe and uncomfortable,” said San Francisco visitor, Matthew Ecklund.
“Like, you wearing that is sort of a bold declaration that perhaps you support some of those things,” said another man who did not want to be identified.
But another man who declined to give his name had a slightly different take. “I think it may have something to do with mental illness,” he said, “A person running around wearing a hat and carrying a sword looking for a fight … and looking for a reason to have a confrontation.”
Police had no further comment except to say they are reviewing surveillance recordings from the area as they continue their search for the suspect.
© Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.