Rafu Wire and Staff Reports
VAN NUYS — A Sylmar man accused of rear-ending a Filipino American family at a North Hollywood drive-thru, then uttering racial slurs and physically assaulting the victims, was in custody Wednesday after missing an earlier court hearing, prompting the issuance of an arrest warrant.
Nicholas Weber, 31, was arrested on Tuesday morning and bail was set at $300,000. He is scheduled to be arraigned Thursday in a Van Nuys courtroom on one felony count of battery with serious bodily injury and a misdemeanor count of battery. Both charges include a hate-crime allegation, according to the criminal complaint.
The charges stem from a May 13 confrontation in the drive-thru line of a McDonald’s restaurant in North Hollywood, where Weber allegedly rear-ended a car occupied by Nerissa Roque, 47, and her daughter Patricia Roque, 19. The assailant was caught on cell phone video getting out of his vehicle and threatening the women.
While waiting for the police to arrive, Nerissa Roque’s husband, Gabriel Roque, 62, arrived at the scene. According to the family, Weber then attacked the couple and left the husband with injuries including a broken rib.
Weber was not jailed at the time, but he was later charged and scheduled to be arraigned June 8. He never showed up, prompting a judge to issue a bench warrant for his arrest, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.
According to a statement by Patricia Roque, Weber beat her father and threw him to the ground, then started strangling her mother when bystanders intervened.
“There is no doubt that the suspect’s actions and attacks were motivated by hate,” she said. “This was the most traumatic experience of our lives. I feared that the suspect would kill us because of what we looked like — because we are Asian.”
The family and members of local Asian American civil rights groups held a rally outside the North Hollywood Police Department on June 17, calling for prosecution of Weber to the full extent of the law.
The Filipino Migrant Center said in a statement prior to the rally, “The Los Angeles Police Department has not been responsive to the family’s lawyers and we need to come together as a community and rally behind the Roques in their demand for justice.”
Justice will be done!! I’m delighted that (coward) and classless madman has been apprehended now. Hate crimes related assaults will not be tolerated. It’s with hope that this hateful bully will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Justice will close to sick and ignorant people. We’re very sorry about what happened recently with the Roque family over in North Hollywood. Take care and get well.
Sincerely, Steven M. Wakimoto
June 23, 2022