RAFU STAFF REPORT
An Asian couple was assaulted and robbed in broad daylight by two suspects in Rowland Heights last Saturday.
According to the Walnut Station of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, the crime — which was captured on surveillance video — occurred on July 9 after 12 p.m. outside a 99 Ranch Market at 1015 S. Nogales St. in Mandarin Plaza. The names of the victims were not released.
Deputies gave the following account: The man and woman were loading groceries into their car when the suspects ran up to them and demanded the man’s Rolex watch, which is worth about $60,000. Before the man could respond, one of the suspects pistol-whipped him and knocked him to the ground. The second suspect then pistol-whipped the woman.
The video shows the victims kneeling behind their car with the man bleeding from a head wound and the woman screaming for help.
The suspects — described as men between 25 and 30 years old, wearing black hoodies and gray sweatpants, and armed with semi-automatic handguns — grabbed the watch and escaped in a white Dodge Challenger with paper license plates.
The Walnut Sheriff’s Station told ABC7 it is working with the Temple Sheriff’s Station, which has received reports of similar incidents in the past few days.
Although the Sheriff’s Department has not characterized this case as racially motivated, the brazen attack is causing apprehension in the Asian American community, as anti-Asian hate crimes have become increasingly common throughout California and across the country.
Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda L. Solis of District 1, which includes Rowland Heights, released the following statement on July 11: “I am incredibly disheartened by the violent assault against an AAPI couple this past weekend at the 99 Ranch Market in Rowland Heights. The senseless victimization and the attacks against AAPIs continue and only increase divisiveness among our communities.
“I will be directing the county’s Human Relations Commission’s LA vs. Hate and the Department of Public Health’s Office of Violence Prevention to provide tailored resources and support for those who have been impacted by this traumatic event. To assist in the investigation, I will be issuing a $15,000 reward to bring the perpetrators of this offense to justice.
“Public safety is incredibly important to me and all of us. I will ensure the support from the county in the form of law enforcement and other restorative justice resources continue to be brought to this community. If you have any information about the incident at the 99 Ranch Market, please contact the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s Walnut Station at (909) 595-2264. Those who wish to remain anonymous can call Crime Stoppers at (800) 222-8477. If you require any services and resources related to hate incidents, please contact 2-1-1.”
A rally was planned for Saturday, July 16, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the scene of the crime. Attendees were urged to “unite fearlessly” and “stand together against violent attacks on elders.” The flyer did not list any sponsoring organizations.