SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 Utah) – Luis Lopez thought a customer needed help.
But his sister said Alan Covington had a plan that was racially motivated.
“The man began to tell him racists things,” said the sister who did not want to be identified. “(He asked) if he was a Mexican, that he didn’t like Mexicans, that he is here to kill them.”
Lopez and Covington were outside the family’s business on Main Street.
According to witnesses Covington started attacking Lopez.
“That guy was hitting that boy with a piece of pipe,” said Jose who didn’t want to be identified for fear of retaliation.
Lopez’ sister said their father came to her brother’s rescue.
“My father knelt down where my brother was to protect him because the man still was trying to hit him,” said the sister. “And my father got on top of my brother and the suspect hit my father in the back.”
Another witness said he heard screaming and looked to see Covington and Lopez on the sidewalk.
“He hit him at least three times,” said Frank Gorney. “I only saw the last one. The kid was hit around the eyes. There was blood everywhere, screaming bloody murder.”
Gorney said the suspect took off leaving father and son behind.
A short while later Covington was arrested. But according to Jose, he again made threats to Lopez’ uncle who identified Covington to police.
“When I get out, I’m going to kill you,” Jose claimed Covington said to the uncle.
According to his sister, Lopez suffered numerous broken bones in his face.
“He was in surgery for three hours and they put a titanium plate to help with the healing,” she said. “But he is now in stable condition and is recovering from his injuries.”
Her father was also treated for his injuries. She said he was hit in the back with the metal pipe but is doing much better. She said her brother is luck their father came out when he did.
“If my father had not been there to protect him he would have hit my brother several more times in the head,” said the sister.
There is no hate crime charge under Utah state law. But Friday, prosecutors did charge Covington with aggravated assault causing serious injury. It is a second degree felony and if he is convicted, Covington could spend up to fifteen years in prison. He was also charged with simple assault, possession of a dangerous weapon and drugs.