NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A woman said she was harassed and threatened – all because of her race – as she walked home from a store in Astoria, Queens this week.
“I want this guy caught immediately,” said the woman, who asked to remain anonymous.
As CBS2’s Jessica Borg reported exclusively Friday, the woman said she was attacked by the man on Wednesday.
The woman told Borg the man harassed and tried to hit her on Wednesday.
“He just tells me: ‘You got to be deported. I’ll smash your face, I’ll shoot you. Get out of my country.’”
The 69 year-old woman did not want her face on camera on Friday. She said was coming home from grocery shopping at Key Food when the stranger threatened her.
“I told him: ‘I’m in my country. I’m an American citizen. I’m three generations of American citizens. Where do you want to deport me?’” she said. “He says: ‘No, you get out of my country. This is not your country. It’s my country.”
The woman, who is of Puerto Rican descent, then had to physically defend herself against the man.
“He bends over and he takes an umbrella to hit me with it, and I block him with my left hand, so my finger got cut,” she said.
The woman said she then took her large umbrella, and hit the man several times. Her umbrella was lost in the commotion, and when the man then lunged at her, a passerby scared him off.
She was walking on busy 31st Street around 1:30 p.m. Wednesday when the man, coming in the other direction, suddenly jumped in her face.
It was stunning to people who live and work in the racially diverse area.
“That would be very offensive,” one man said. “That’s very, very offensive.”
Her attacker appeared to be in his 60s and was last seen running toward the Ditmars Boulevard station.
“There’s other people in my neighborhood that I know have been targeted, but they’re afraid because they have no papers. They don’t want to say something,” she said. “But I’m going to stand up.”
Citizen or not, she said no one should be targeted.
Police are investigating the incident as a possible hate crime. They are looking to see if surveillance video from nearby businesses or the subway station can help them catch the suspect.