(KRON) — A 57-year-old man said he was just getting home when a stranger approached and attacked him.
He believes this is a hate crime because of his religion.
Baljeet Sidhu was parking his taxi cab after work when he was stopped by a man.
At first the man — a stranger — was asking him for a cigarette lighter.
Sidhu turned him away went to look for another parking spot closer to his home.
The stranger comes up again asking for money and a ride.
Sidhu told him no, parked his cab and got out to check his parking.
Next thing he knows, he’s being attacked and pushed on the ground.
“He hold the door and said I got you so he hit me with a BBQ pan,” Sidhu said.
The incident happened on Hilltop Mall Road across the street from the Hilltop Mall around 4 a.m. Sunday morning.
“He choked me with hand and we fell down on the ground,” Sidhu said. “And he still continuing hitting me with the pan so then he hit me and punched me.”
A mall security guard happened to be nearby – Sidhu called for help, the guard stopped the attack.
When Richmond police arrived, they found Sidhu on the ground.
Sidhu doesn’t remember much about the attacker due to being in shock.
He’s not sure whether the attacker meant to rob him or whether this was a hate crime.
Sidhu practices the Sikh faith.
“The action is what we’re concerned about. Basically he was just parking and comes out against him,” Harpreet Sandu said. “The gentlemen kept saying ‘I got you, I got you’. What did he get? What was it he was getting from?”
Harpreet Sandu is a former Richmond City council member and family friend of the victim.
He said a similar attack happened in the same neighborhood just blocks away three years ago.
“We’ll go back and inform our people, be aware and safe, look out at what you’re surroundings are,” Sandu said. “But that’s not the way we should be living.”
Sidhu is concerned about parking in his neighborhood and hopes speaking about the violent crime will help prevent it from happening to someone else.
There is no suspect description at this time.
But Richmond police do have neighborhood surveillance video that may have caught the suspect.