The Long Beach Police Department is seeking the public's help in identifying the man who committed a hate crime against a Muslim woman in the Bixby Knolls area.
Authorities said the incident occurred around 4:30 p.m. July 2 in the parking lot of a shopping center in the 4000 block of Atlantic Avenue.
Police say the assailant approached the woman from behind as she was loading items into the trunk of her car.
The man grabbed the woman's black hijab and began cursing at her as he forcefully pulled and twisted it off, police said.
The man then fled with the hijab in his hand into an alley that runs parallel to the shopping center.
The victim was taken to a hospital for scratches and abrasions to her neck shortly after the attack, police said.
“This incident occurred during the day in a busy shopping center and we are hoping that someone may have witnessed the encounter or saw the suspect leaving the area and can provide us with additional information,” said Police Chief Jim McDonnell.
“Crimes of this nature will not be tolerated in our city," he continued, "and we will continue our efforts to find the suspect and hold him accountable.”
Authorities described the assailant as a thin, white man with broad shoulders, in his 30s, about 5 feet, 9 inches tall, with brown hair and a trimmed brown mustache and beard.
The victim told police the assailant was wearing a white buttoned-up shirt, black pants and black shoes at the time of the attack. A sketch of the suspect was released by police.
Details of the attack were released at a Wednesday afternoon news conference, which was attended by members of the Muslim Public Affairs Council, the Los Angeles County Human Relations Commission and the California Conference for Equality & Justice.
Investigators say no similar crimes have occurred recently and believe the July 2 attack was an isolated incident.
Police are asking anyone who may have witnessed the attack or is a victim of a similar crime to call (562) 570-7250. Anonymous tips may be made to Crime Stoppers at (800) 222-8477.
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