Just days after Thanksgiving, on what should have been a typical day at Lopez Tires in Salt Lake City, Utah, 18-year-old Luis Gustavo Lopez was the victim of a brutal attack. Luis, who works at his father’s tire shop, was confronted by a man who proclaimed that he wanted to “kill a Mexican” before launching into a brutal physical assault.
The assailant, 50-year-old Alan Dale Covington, entered Lopez Tires allegedly yelling: “I hate Mexicans” and “I’m here to kill a Mexican.”
Jose Lopez and his 18-year-old son Luis Gustavo Lopez were allegedly beaten by a man outside their Salt Lake City tire shop.
“I’m here to kill a Mexican," the assailant allegedly shouted. https://t.co/vjRPD2B1mZ
— Ali (@aliriab) December 3, 2018
According to KUTV, Covington first hit Luis’s dad, Jose Lopez. The teen tried to protect his father by picking up a car jack pole in an attempt to hit Covington. In turn, Covington hit Luis in the face with the pole and then fled the scene.
The daughter of Jose and sister of Luis, Veronica Lopez, wrote on GoFundme that her dad got eight stitches in his arm and “has his back severely bruised due to the blows he received.” She also said that her brother’s “right side of his face was shattered.” After a three hour surgery, Luis now has a “titanium plate from the right side of his face to his nose to be able to attach the bones and keep his eyeball in place and a plate under that.”
He remains in critical condition.
Covington has since been charged with two felony counts of aggravated assault, and three weapon and drug charges. He will not be charged with a hate crime.
A man who attacked a father and son in Utah while shouting ‘I Hate Mexicans’ will most likely NOT be charged with a hate crime
In fact, NO ONE has been convicted of a hate crime in Utah for 20 years because of a legal loophole. https://t.co/YH316e4fot
— Voto Latino (@votolatino) December 3, 2018
Under the Utah state law, someone can only be charged with a hate crime if the act is seen as a misdemeanor assault and must prove intent. Typically, a hate crime is motivated by racial, gender identity, sexual orientation, or other prejudice involving violence. In the crime against the Lopez family, even though Covington allegedly targeted Mexicans, his crime is being considered felony aggravated assault and not a hate crime.
Veronica told The Salt Lake Tribune she’s very upset that police won’t consider this act against her family a hate crime. “It makes my blood boil,” she said. “What do they want next? Do they want him to kill someone to see that he’s dangerous?”
The Salt Lake Tribune is also reporting that police said Covington — who has a long criminal record — had clouded judgement because he was on drugs when he attacked the Lopezes. They also said he had “some mental health issues.”
The family is requesting donations for their medical bills because they do not have medical insurance.
Click here if you’d like to donate to the Lopez family.