Advertisement
Share

Suspect in North Hollywood anti-Asian attack on Filipino family is arrested and charged

Two women wearing masks stand together.
Nerissa Roque, left, stands next to her daughter Patricia at a rally Friday outside the Van Nuys branch of the L.A. County district attorney’s office. After they were attacked last month outside a North Hollywood drive-through, the suspect failed to appear in court.
(John Haas)

A man suspected in an anti-Asian attack on a Filipino family in North Hollywood last month is back in custody in Los Angeles County after he failed to appear for arraignment, authorities said Wednesday.

Nicholas Weber, 31, was detained by police after the May 13 attack and issued a citation with instructions to appear in court June 8.

But Weber did not show up.

He was charged with felony battery causing serious bodily injury and misdemeanor battery. Both counts also carried hate crime enhancements, court records show.

Advertisement

A new poll from Cal State Los Angeles surveyed Asian American and Pacific Islander voters on homelessness, anti-Asian racism and hate crimes.

Weber was arrested in Orange County shortly after 7:40 p.m. June 16, said Roxi Fyad, a Costa Mesa Police Department spokesperson.

Costa Mesa police “responded to a call for service of a male possibly passed out on the sidewalk” and identified him as Weber, Fyad said. The officers arrested him on an outstanding felony assault warrant from the Los Angeles Police Department.

It was not clear when L.A. County authorities were made aware of Weber’s arrest in Costa Mesa or when he was transferred to custody in Los Angeles.

He is set to be arraigned on the L.A. County charges Friday.

“The unprovoked assault on members of our community is wrong and will not be tolerated,” L.A. County Dist. Atty. George Gascón said. “Our message against violence and racial hatred must be loud and clear. We will hold accountable the people who commit hate crimes in Los Angeles County.”

A man in the driver's seat of an SUV yells out the window
A screenshot from a video taken by Patricia Roque shows a man who shouted at her and her mother, Nerissa, before Nerissa and her husband were attacked in a McDonald’s parking lot.
(Patricia Roque)

The May 13 incident began after Weber allegedly rear-ended Nerissa and Patricia Roque at a McDonald’s drive-through on Victory Boulevard.

At first, the mother and daughter thought it was a hit-and-run because the SUV driver pulled out of the line, but he drove up beside their vehicle and started shouting.

“Oh. You’re so Asian,” he yelled, in a tone that seemed to affect some kind of Asian accent. “Yeah, you’re so Asian.”

The encounter was captured in a series of videos taken by Patricia, 19, that were provided to The Times on Friday.

In one video, the man tries to enter the family’s car as Patricia, sitting in the car’s passenger seat, shuts and locks the door moments before he pulls on the handle.

By that point, the mother and daughter had called police, and Nerissa’s husband, 62-year-old Gabriel Roque, had arrived from the family’s home.

After the May attack by a man shouting anti-Asian slurs, the suspect was released. He is now at large after failing to appear in court.

An expletive-laced video shows the man shove Gabriel, who falls on a concrete parking block, and land on top of him.

After a bystander and Nerissa, 47, separated the man from Gabriel, another video captures a second assault. In a scene partly captured on video and described by Patricia and Nerissa, the man, with his back against a wall, grabs Nerissa by the throat.

Sandy Roxas, the Roque family’s attorney, said Gabriel was taken to a hospital with broken ribs and a bruised left arm.

Police arrived about an hour after the initial confrontation, Nerissa and Patricia told The Times on Friday.

The Roque family held a rally outside the district attorney’s office Van Nuys branch earlier that day in a bid to raise awareness of their case and call for justice.

Nerissa and Patricia said their family was traumatized by the attack but bolstered by support from the community.

People with signs that say 'The people united will never be defeated' and 'Gascon! Prosecute Weber now'
Patricia Roque, right, and her father, Gabriel, center, attend the rally in Van Nuys on Friday.
(John Haas)

According to Los Angeles County court records, Weber has several recent arrests and convictions, including for driving under the influence, probation violations and violating a restraining order.

In 2012, he was sentenced to two years in state prison and 180 days in county jail, to be served consecutively, after he pleaded no contest in a DUI case, court records show.

In addition to the case involving the Roque family, Weber faces criminal charges of petty theft and public intoxication in a separate case, the records show. That case was filed June 10 in connection with a May 31 incident.

“While it will take time for the Roque family and the community to heal, Weber’s arrest is one step towards bringing justices for the Roques,” Roxas said.

Los Angeles recorded the most hate crimes among large U.S. cities last year, posting a 71% jump in the incidents, a study finds.

The attorney said she and her clients are relieved Weber is in custody but know this is not the end of their fight.

“Weber having to answer for his actions is long overdue, and we hope that this is a message to not only the victims of Asian hate crimes, but to the people who incite violence against our community,” Roxas said. “Giving law enforcement pressure is key to fighting for justice, and I thank them for finally apprehending Weber.”

It was unclear Wednesday whether Weber had an attorney.

Times staff writer Liam Dillon contributed to this report.


Advertisement