Hate crime at SDSU: Police sketch tweeted

by Quinn Owen, News Editor

San Diego State Police are searching for a man who assaulted a Muslim student in what they are calling a hate crime. An artist’s sketch of the man was tweeted by the department.

Police said the man tore off the woman’s headscarf while making hateful comments and threats about her ethnicity.

The suspected assault occurred Thursday afternoon around 1:45 p.m. in the parking lot near Zura Residence Hall.

The 5-foot-11-inch white male suspect was wearing a grey sweater, blue jeans and white shoes. Police described him as having a thin build with dark black air and either hazel or green eyes.

He was not seen with a vehicle but police say he took off running toward campus parking structure 6 after attacking the woman.

After receiving multiple reports of the incident, San Diego’s office of the Council on American-Islamic relations said the assault could have been motivated by the woman’s religion or cultural identity.

“The incident may be related to the backlash against the American Muslim community since the recent terror attacks in Paris,” CAIR said in a press release.

SDSU President Elliot Hirshman acknowledged the reported assault in an email to students, staff and faculty, describing it as, “rooted in religious bigotry.” He said university police are taking aggressive measures during its investigation.

“We unequivocally condemn all forms of bigotry and any efforts to intimidate, harm or demean any members of our community,” Hirshman wrote in the email.

The timing and distribution of the department’s initial community safety alert are also being reviewed to ensure protocols were followed, he said.

A Facebook event, “SDSU Action Against Islamophobia,” calls for a rally 12:30 p.m. Monday, Nov. 23 to unite against “Islamophobia and bigotry.” It was created today in response to this crime.

In a community safety alert, the police department encouraged anyone with information about the suspect to contact Detective Hogan or Detective Barrett at (619)-594-1783.

Information can also be sent by email to police@mail.sdsu.edu, or through the anonymous hotline (619)-235-8477.

The Daily Aztec will be following this developing story. Check back for updates.