U.S. Citizen Says He Was Splashed With Acid, Told To ‘Go Back To Your Country’

A 61-year-old man has been arrest­ed by Milwaukee police in an acid attack on a stranger who said the assailant told him to “go back to your coun­try.”

Police said they’re inves­ti­gat­ing Friday night’s attack, which left Mahud Villalaz with sec­ond-degree burns to his face and vision prob­lems, as a hate crime and expect the dis­trict attor­ney to bring charges with­in a week. Police didn’t release the name of the man they arrest­ed on Saturday.

Villalaz, 42, described how he parked his car out­side a restau­rant and was approached by the assailant, a white man upset that he was too close to a bus stop. 

He start­ed talk­ing like, ‘You don’t respect my laws. You can’t invade my coun­try, so go back to your coun­try,’” Villalaz, who is a U.S. cit­i­zen and Latino, told NBC News.

A Milwaukee police spokesper­son char­ac­ter­ized the crime as aggra­vat­ed bat­tery. Alderman Joe G. Perez said he has been assured the sus­pect will face hate crime charges.

This “was a heinous crime that will have a long-term impact on the life of the vic­tim,” Perez said in a state­ment. “We as a com­mu­ni­ty need to come togeth­er to work through our dif­fer­ences and learn to respect one anoth­er and dif­fuse con­flict.”

Mahud Villalaz, 42, said he was accused of being an illegal immigrant before he was splashed with the liquid, which burned hi
Mahud Villalaz, 42, said he was accused of being an ille­gal immi­grant before he was splashed with the liq­uid, which burned his face.

Villalaz said he moved his car after the man’s out­burst. But the assailant, he said, was still there ― and still angry.

Surveillance video shows the two men fac­ing one anoth­er on the side­walk when the assailant, wear­ing a hood­ed coat, sud­den­ly splash­es Villalaz with a cup of liq­uid inves­ti­ga­tors believe was bat­tery acid. Villalaz quick­ly cov­ers his face and lurch­es back­ward, out of the camera’s view, as the assailant, still hold­ing the cup, calm­ly steps toward him. 

I don’t want this guy near my kids, near my fam­i­ly,” Villalaz, fight­ing back tears, told reporters on Saturday. “My son calls me today, ‘Daddy what hap­pened to you?’ What do I tell him? Some crazy guy did this to me?”