A suspect who allegedly threw battery acid into another man’s face in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, on Friday has been arrested.
The victim, 42-year-old Mahud Villalaz, said the man argued with him about how his truck was parked as they were standing outside a restaurant on South 13th Street between Cleveland and Harrison avenues.
“Because I was parked wrong. I’m going to my truck, and I move it half a block there. Then I get out to go to the restaurant, and the guy’s still there with a bottle in his hands,” he told reporters.
Surveillance footage released by the restaurant shows the 61-year-old suspect throwing the acid into Villalaz’s face, who then turns and walks out of view.
“It started burning really bad. I started go screaming for help to the restaurant,” he said. “I don’t want this guy near my kids, my family or anything like that.”
Villalaz, who is a U.S. citizen, claimed the man called him an “illegal,” and added that “I think I pissed him off because I told him, ‘This is my country. This isn’t your country. Everybody came from somewhere else here.'”
Following the attack, Villalaz was taken to a nearby hospital and treated for second-degree burns. He was released soon after.
The victim’s family thanked local authorities for quickly finding the man and taking him into custody.
“We wish to thank Chief Alfonso Morales and all the professionals at the Milwaukee Police Department for their efforts in bringing the attacker to justice,” the statement read.
Villalaz said he is a victim of a hate crime because of how the man approached him.
“This is pretty much a terrorist attack,” he stated, adding “Thank God he didn’t have a gun and shoot me.”
Police said the suspect is accused of aggravated battery but no other details have been released so far.
In a press release Saturday, Milwaukee Alderman Jose Perez urged the community to find common ground so as to avoid instances like the one that occurred on Friday.
“This was senseless violence and it needs to stop. We as a community need to come together to work through our differences and learn to respect one another and defuse conflict,” he said.