AUSTIN (KXAN) — The Austin Police Department called a weekend stabbing near the University of Texas at Austin campus “bias-motivated,” saying it will be reviewed by the Hate Crimes Review Committee.
The incident happened Sunday evening at Nueces and 26th Streets, and a man with non-life-threatening injuries was taken to the hospital, according to police. Bert James Baker, 36, was arrested in the incident and charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.
University of Texas Police previously said neither the suspect nor the victim were affiliated with UT.
The victim’s father, Nizar, spoke at a press conference hosted by the Council on American-Islamic Relations, or CAIR, on Tuesday and identified the victim as Zacharia.
He said Zacharia is 23 years old, a husband, and father to a five-month-old. According to CAIR, Zacharia lives in Arlington and was only in town for a demonstration on Sunday that called for a ceasefire in Gaza.
Nizar said his son believes if President Biden, Gov. Greg Abbott, and other leaders had called for a ceasefire in Gaza before this point, this would not have happened.
“This hate that’s going around needs to stop. If y’all took action three months ago, nobody would have been hurt,” Nizar said.
“This has come to haunt us in our homeland. It’s come to haunt us in the US. It’s come to haunt us in Texas. This is not acceptable. And I beg you to call an end for this madness.”
Watch the video of Nizar’s statement below:
APD said once the committee reviews the details of the case, that information will be given to the Travis County District Attorney’s Office and/or the County Attorney’s Office.
“It is up to the prosecuting office to enhance the offense to a bias-motivated crime, not the investigative unit,” APD explained in a Tuesday news release.
You can read more of Austin Police’s statement below.
We encourage everyone to educate, support, and respect all members of our community, regardless of their background or beliefs. We strongly condemn all forms of crime, especially those which are bias-motivated or showing of discrimination. Our Department is committed to keeping our community safe and inclusive for all. We will continue to work to ensure that our community is a place where everyone feels valued and respected.
Austin Police Department
To learn more about the tools and resources available to report hate crimes or similar incidents, APD provided a link to the “We All Belong” campaign.