MARYSVILLE, CA (KTXL/CNN) - A homeless man and regular customer at a California 7-Eleven faces hate crime charges for attacking an employee because he thought the victim was Muslim, police say.
Just before 2 a.m. Wednesday, police responded to a call from a 7-Eleven in Marysville, CA. Officers say 43-year-old John Crain tried to walk out of the store without pay for a cup of coffee he had just poured.
The clerk, identified only as a man in his early 20s, told police he confronted Crain, who threw the hot coffee in his face then punched him before leaving the store.
Police later located Crain, who allegedly admitted to the assault, telling police he "hated Muslims.”
Employees at the store say the victim is not Muslim but a member of the Sikh community. Sikhism is a monotheistic faith that believes in equality and service to others, according to CNN.
"The Sikhs are American. We’ve been working hard here for over 100 years. A hate crime against a Sikh or a Muslim is the same as a hate crime against our sisters and brothers in the Jewish or LGBTQ communities,” said Amar Shergill, a board member of the American Sikh Public Affairs Association.
The Council on American Islamic Relations issued a statement Friday in response to the assault.
“This hate crime represents yet another attack on our Sikh brothers and sisters, fueled by Islamophobia and those emboldened by this administration’s xenophobic polices and sentiments,” it read.
Crain is being held at the Yuba County Jail. He faces hate crime, theft and assault charges.