A “white supremacist” allegedly stabbed an interracial couple in Washington state in an unprovoked attack being investigated as a hate crime.
Daniel Rowe, 32, allegedly shouted a racial slur and lashed out at the couple as they were kissing in a busy downtown street of the state capital of Olympia. The knife grazed the white woman and went into the black man’s hip.
“The suspect is unknown to the victims and the attack appears to have been unprovoked,” Olympia police said in the statement.
Laura Wohl, an Olympia police spokeswoman, said the motive for the Tuesday night attack “seems to be purely racial”.
The 47-year-old male victim was able to chase and trip up Rowe, who was knocked unconscious as he fell and hit his head.
Police said Rowe described himself as a “white supremacist” as he was being put into the police car.
“He begins talking about Donald Trump rallies and attacking people at the Black Lives Matter protest,” Lt. Paul Lower, a police department spokesman, said.
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Police say Rowe, who had recently been released from Washington State Penitentiary in Walla Walla, about 300 miles away, had come to Olympia in response to anti-police graffiti that had been written over the weekend. Police were still investigating who wrote the graffiti, Mr Lower said.
According to court documents obtained by the Olympian newspaper, Rowe had tattoos that read “skinhead”, “white power” and “hooligan”. One tattoo showed the Confederate flag.
Rowe faces two charges of first-degree assault and possible malicious harassment, which in Washington state is a designation used for hate crimes.
“This has all the hallmarks of a hate crime,” Deputy Prosecutor Joseph Wheeler said at Rowe’s court hearing on Wednesday, the Olympian reported. “This black-and-white couple was simply expressing their love for one another.”
According to the newspaper, Rowe had been imprisoned for a 2008 conviction for second-degree robbery.