Hate crime suspected in trolley attack on Syrian refugee

SAN DIEGO — Detectives are reviewing video footage that corroborates a teenage Syrian refugee’s report of being attacked on a San Diego trolley by a man shouting epithets about the victim’s ethnicity, a police spokesman said Thursday.

The 17-year-old told authorities he was on his way home from school Tuesday afternoon when the assailant approached him on the light-rail tram and asked if he was Mexican.

When the teen identified himself as Arabic, the man began shouting anti-Arab and Islamophobic slurs and attacked him, according to the San Diego chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

Following the assault, which left the victim with facial injuries, the assailant got off the trolley at 62nd Street in Encanto.

Detectives investigating the case, which has been classified as a suspected hate crime, have tracked down video images that “substantiate the victim’s statement,” San Diego police Sgt. Matthew Botkin said.

No suspects in the case have been publicly identified.

“MTS is fully cooperating with SDPD’s investigation into the reported attack,” MTS spokesperson Mark Olson said.

The assault occurred nine days after a man was arrested in Little Italy for allegedly shoving Muslim women in hijabs and telling them to “go back to (their) country.”

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