SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 News) – A Utah man previously charged with aggravated assault now faces federal hate crime charges.

Alan Covington was indicted by a federal grand jury in Salt Lake City Wednesday.

Covington entered the premises of a tire store in November 2018 and shouted that he wanted to “kill Mexicans,” and then struck a man in the head with a metal pole, according to a new release issued by the FBI. 

The indictment alleges the attack against the victim was an attempt to kill. Covington also struck a second man with a metal pole. Both victims suffered severe injuries. Investigators said he went on to swing at a third man during the incident. 

The federal grand jury returned a three-count indictment charging Covington for attacking the men because he believed they were Mexican, announced Eric Dreiband, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. 

Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski released the following statement after the indictment was announced:

“This attack sowed fear into our community and was met with a swift and thorough investigation by the Salt Lake City Police Department who rightfully reached out to the FBI for assistance,” said Biskupski. “It is time Utah adopt comprehensive hate crime legislation to give law enforcement and investigators the tools they need to prosecute these types of crime.”

The case is being investigated by the Salt Lake City Field Office of the FBI, with the cooperation of the Salt Lake City Police Department. The case is being prosecuted by the United States Attorney’s Office and the Civil Rights Division.

If convicted, Covington faces a maximum sentence of life in prison and a $250,000 fine.