Mahud Villalaz is a 42-year-old Milwaukee, Wisconsin man who described in vivid detail in a news conference how he was the victim of a racist acid attack that left him with facial wounds. You can watch surveillance video of the moment a suspect tosses battery acid on Villalaz, but be aware that it’s disturbing. The video has been widely played in the Milwaukee news media.
“I think I pissed him off because I told him, ‘This is my country. This isn’t your country. Everybody came from somewhere else here,'” Villalez said in the news conference. He says the man accused him of invading the country and being here illegally; Villalez is a U.S. citizen. Villalaz, who is of Peruvian descent, wrote on Facebook that he works as a Welder-Fabricator.
The attack has been widely condemned in Milwaukee by community leaders, politicians, and others. Here’s the video showing the attack:
You can watch video of Villalaz speaking in a press conference here:
According to WISN-TV, the 61-year-old suspect is now under arrest in the November 1, 2019 attack. The suspect has not yet been named.
Here’s what you need to know:
Villalaz Described How the Man Accused Him of Invading the Country & Being Illegal
Darryl Morin, president of Forward Latino, said in the news conference that “last night here on the south side of Milwaukee, we saw yet another act of hate take place.”
He said the numbers of hate crimes have been escalating the last few years. Morin said the victim is a United States citizen who was “attacked, verbally assaulted and had acid spilled on him simply because of the color of his skin and the way that he sounds. An American citizen was attacked last night in a disgusting act of hate.”
In the news conference, Villalaz said he was driving his truck to go to a restaurant. “There was a guy in the corner like waiting for the bus,” he said, then describing how the man confronted him and said he had invaded his country.
“I looked at him, and said, ‘What are you talking about?’” Villalaz said, describing how he moved his car one block forward. He got out of his truck waiting to go into the restaurant, and the man was still waiting there. “Why you come here illegally? Why you come here to invade my country?” Villalaz says the man asked him. Villalaz said he told the man, “Everyone comes here from someone else.”
He was ready to go to the restaurant when he said the man threw the acid at him. He said the acid was “burning really bad” and he ran screaming into the restaurant. He was scared for his life. He then repeated his statements in the press conference in Spanish.
Journalist Chernéy Amhara shared photos of the victim’s facial injuries on Facebook, writing, “I just spoke to the victim’s family, they say he was leaving Mexican restaurant after picking up food when he was approached by a man. The two got into an argument about parking. The victim, a US citizen, was allegedly told to ‘go back to his country’ by the attacker.”
She added: “Milwaukee police confirm the man suffered second degree burns. Police say the suspect is outstanding and describe him as Caucasian male, approximately 6 ft tall with a medium build. He was last seen wearing a blue winter jacket with the hood up, black pants, black shoes, carrying a black satchel on his right side and holding a silver aluminum container containing suspected battery acid with a white shopping bag with unknown lettering.”
Milwaukee Alderman Jose Perez released a statement calling the acid attack a “hate crime.”
“The acid attack last night near 13th and Cleveland was a heinous crime that will have a long-term impact on the life of the victim,” Perez wrote in the statement.
“This was senseless violence and it needs to stop. We as a community need to come together to work through our differences and learn to respect one another and diffuse conflict.”
Perez added: “We need those elected officials who are spreading racial hatred to knock off the rhetoric that is designed to divide us. Instead, we need to work to heal the wounds that have been gashed open in the last few years. We as a country are better than this. Milwaukee is better than this.”
Perez added, “We as a community are encouraged that the police are investigating this attack as a hate crime and have been ensured that all hate crime enhancers are added to the charges. Those that would perpetuate violence against anyone based on their ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation or gender need to understand that they will be held to account and fully punished for their crimes.”
The well-known Chef Paz restaurant wrote on Facebook, “Anger, helplessness, sadness gives me this racist attack Peruvian Mahud Villalaz my client and friend was leaving a restaurant and a racist made him acid in the face attacked by a racist crazy who is still free he was leaving a restaurant they have thrown acid in The face he is being treated at St Mary’s hospital was attacked at 13 with the Cleveland in the restaurant next to ALDI he was attacked by a racist patient because he carried in his backpack a bottle full of acid with premeditation. Beware of this guy who is still on the loose, he is carrying a briefcase, we are asking the police for the video !!! Mahud Villalaz is an American citizen but for looking Latin, he was attacked. Go to your country, he was told.?”