PETALUMA (CBS SF) – A transient man suspected of attacking an elderly Spanish-speaking man with a stick allegedly yelled profanities and told the victim that he did not like Hispanics.
It happened Monday night around 8 p.m. officers responded to a 911 call reporting an aggressive male hitting another person with a large stick on East Washington Street, in Petaluma.
When Petaluma police found the victim, the 70-year-old, Spanish-speaking male said he was loading items on his bicycle when the suspect approached him and began yelling obscenities.
Police have identified the suspect as 58-year-old Timothy Schmelzer, a transient.
According to police, Schmelzer allegedly told the victim he did not like Hispanic people, hit him with a large stick, and left.
The victim was not injured but the investigating officer determined the attack qualifies as a hate crime because of Schmelzer’s alleged racist rant.
Police have taken Schmelzer into custody. He was booked into Sonoma County Jail for assault with a deadly weapon, elder abuse and a hate crime.
Police were urging anyone who witnessed the attack to contact Petaluma PD at (707) 778-4372.