US: 61-year-old arrested in acid attack on Latino man

WASHINGTON

Police in U.S. state of Wisconsin’s Milwaukee said Monday they have taken a 61-year-old suspect into custody in connection with an acid attack on a Latino man. 

Mahud Villalaz, 42, who is Peruvian-American, says his attacker asked him “why did you come here and invade my country?,” and accused him of being in the U.S. illegally shortly before he threw the liquid from an open bottle on his face on Friday night.

Villalaz suffered second degree burns after the man, whom he said is white, doused him with the chemical mixture that police have said was battery acid.

Police have not identified the suspect after taking him into custody.

Video footage from a nearby security camera obtained by WISN-TV, a local ABC affiliate, shows the men talking on the street when the suspect raises his left hand towards Villalaz’s face before taking a bottle in his right hand and throwing a liquid contained inside on the victim’s face.

The suspect then grips the bottle as Villalaz recoils out of frame.

“I think I pissed him off because I told him, ‘This is my country. This isn’t your country. Everyone here is from somewhere else,” Villalaz told the television station.

The video footage posted by WISN-TV does not include audio.

Police have said they are investigating the attack as a hate crime.

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett placed blame for the attack, in part, on President Donald Trump for fostering anti-immigrant sentiments.

“This anger toward people from other countries is being fed by our president and by his followers,” Barrett said during a Monday morning press conference, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

In his crackdown on legal and illegal migration to the U.S., Trump has assailed what he has repeatedly said is an “invasion” of immigrants coming to the country.

A GoFundMe webpage created by Villalaz’s family to help pay for his medical expenses has raised nearly $25,000 so far.
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