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A senior Asian man suffered a broken nose after getting mugged and assaulted at gunpoint in South El Monte, Calif., this week.
What happened: Paul Liao, 67, was working as a Lyft driver on Monday night when an unidentified man entered his car and demanded money.
The incident occurred just after Liao, who is also an Uber driver, finished refueling and washing his car at an ARCO gas station at Rush Street and Rosemead Boulevard around 9:20 p.m, reported CBS LA.
Liao allegedly forgot to lock his doors after parking in the station's parking lot when the suspect sat in the backseat, reported Newsweek.
Dashcam footage shows the suspect grabbing Liao’s phone and forcing him to hand over his wallet, which contained $1,560 in cash. During the interaction, the suspect had also asked Liao, who is Taiwanese, if he was from China.
Liao said the suspect then ordered him to get out of his car. He lied, telling the suspect he could not drive the vehicle unless he was the owner.
Outraged, the suspect hit Liao’s face twice with the handle of his gun, giving him a fractured nose, before fleeing the scene.
Seeking justice: Liao’s family has reported the incident to the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department, whose detectives are working to locate the suspect. Authorities are calling the incident a "crime of opportunity."
“We were devastated and shocked that this actually happened to someone we knew,” Liao’s daughter-in-law, Christine Ting, told NextShark. “It doesn’t really hit you until it happens to a loved one.”
A Lyft spokesperson told NextShark that they are in touch with Liao’s family to offer support and “stand ready to assist law enforcement with any investigation.” The company also shared its support on Twitter.
Ting organized a GoFundMe page to help replace the money Liao had lost, pay for a new phone and cover some medical expenses. As of this writing, the page has raised over $19,000.
Authorities are investigating the case as a possible hate crime. There is also a potential elder abuse charge against the suspect, who has not been captured as of this writing.
"We're using many new systems at our disposal through the sheriff's department to help identify this individual and we are very confident we will have the individual in custody soon,” Sgt. Richard Lewis. of the Los Angeles County Sheriff said, reported KMOV4.
Anyone with information regarding the incident is asked to call the LASD at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or text “TIPLA” with the tip to 274637 (CRIMES).
Featured Images via Christine Ting
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