COTTONWOOD HEIGHTS, Utah (ABC4) – Police have identified the man suspected of a hate crime in Cottonwood Heights.
The Cottonwood Heights Police Department (CHPD) is now working with prosecutors to bring charges of disorderly conduct and increased hate crime charges against the man.
Officials tell ABC4 that the man has also admitted to his crimes.
The suspect’s identity has not yet been released to the public.
“A sincere thanks to all who phoned in tips, we’re pleased [to] have a timely resolution,” CHPD said in a tweet Thursday.
COTTONWOOD HEIGHTS, Utah (ABC4) – Cottonwood Heights police officers are looking for a man in a potential hate crime.
Detectives say the man went into an alteration business for repairs.
When the employee wasn’t responding in the way he liked, he began to use racial, sexual, and homophobic slurs.
“It was appalling to me. It was disgusting,” says an eyewitness named Michael.
ABC4 News is not using his last name because of a fear of retaliation.
Michael says he was inside Ace Alterations near 1300 E. and Fort Union getting some shorts worked on when a man walked in asking an employee for buttons to be fixed on his shirt.
Because of a language barrier, Michael says the employee Kim asked him to repeat the request.
“And instead of being like a normal decent human repeating it, he just immediately turned on her and starts berating her asking why she can’t speak good English, what she is doing, why is she here, racial slurs, other swear words, stuff I’m not going to repeat,” he says.
Kim was the employee the man was yelling at. She tells ABC4 she’s still shaken up, “My inside, still scary.”
“I turned and looked at him and we made eye contact, and he looked at me like he smiled like he wanted me to join in with him and agree with him, and he didn’t get that from me,” says Michael. “Instead, I said you don’t have to be a jerk, is how I’ll put it, and that set him off against me immediately.”
Micheal told the man to leave the store.
“Because I’ve never seen anything even close to this level,” he says. “You could tangibly feel the hate.”
The man came back a few moments later.
“His car came whipping up and he jumped out of his car and came barging into the store, and unfortunately my mind goes to that dark spot.” says Micheal.
Micheal recorded the interaction. In the video the man says, “Hope that car you pulled in with has air in your car when you leave (bleep).”
You can hear Kim responding with an “Oh my.”
“To see it actually first hand was, it’s hard to think of words that really describe it. It was disturbing, it was disgusting, it was appalling, and it was infuriating,” says Michael. “Just having to live day to day knowing that there are people like that man out there that will accost someone for no reason whatsoever, it’s very real.”
Cottonwood Heights Police are investigating this as a potential hate crime.
Sgt. JD Tazoi adds, “There has been and will continue to be extra patrols around all business quite frankly but definitely that one, and other Asian businesses.”
Detectives say if you recognize the man to call the Cottonwood Height Police Department at 801.944.7100.