A Costa Mesa man was arrested Thursday night on suspicion of attempting to stab a black man in what police believe was a racially motivated hate crime.
Costa Mesa police arrested Claude Wyman, 36, on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon, terrorist threats, committing a hate crime and a parole violation. The arrest included an enhanced charge for possible gang affiliation.
Witnesses told police that Wyman was yelling "white power" outside the Games Plus billiards hall on West 19th Street before he threatened to stab two black men and a Latino.
Without provocation, Wyman chest-bumped one of the black men, called him a racial slur and threatened to kill him while the two were standing in front of the billiards hall, witnesses told police.
Wyman then turned his attention toward two other men standing in the nearby parking lot, police said.
He brandished a large folding knife toward the two men before abruptly turning to make stabbing motions toward the first man, who quickly picked up a small cocktail table to use as a shield, authorities said.
Wyman allegedly fled down the street on a bicycle. Police found him shortly before 5 p.m. on the northeast corner of West 19th Street and Anaheim Avenue.
Officers held him at gunpoint until they were able to handcuff him and remove the knife from one of his front pants pockets.
Wyman pleaded guilty to three felonies in 1996, including attempted murder, using a firearm in the commission of a felony, assault with a firearm and two felony enhancements for participating in a criminal street gang, according to Orange County Superior Court records.
In January 2010, he pleaded guilty to a felony charge of assault with a deadly weapon or force likely to produce great bodily injury, court records show.
Wyman is being held without bail at Orange County Jail in Santa Ana.
Witnesses with information are encouraged to call the Costa Mesa Investigations Bureau at (714) 754-5637