- Zacharia Doar, 23, was stabbed on Sunday near the University of Texas
- Bert James Baker was charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon
- Prosecutors will make the final decision on whether to enhance the offense
A Texas man was arrested after stabbing a Palestinian-American in what police are calling a hate crime.
Zacharia Doar, 23, was stabbed in the chest on Sunday near the University of Texas campus during a fight with Bert James Baker, 36, according to police. He was hospitalized but is expected to recover.
Father-of-one Doar and three other Muslim-Americans were riding in a truck after attending a protest at the UT Austin campus when Baker allegedly tried to rip a flagpole with a keffiyeh scarf reading ‘Free Palestine’ off of their vehicle and a fight ensued, according to the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR).
Baker was charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. Police said Wednesday that their Hate Crimes Review Committee had determined that the stabbing met the definition of a hate crime.
They have provided that information to prosecutors, who will make the final decision on whether to enhance the offense.
Bert James Baker, 36, was charged with aggravated assault after stabbing a Palestinian-American man in the chest on Sunday
Zacharia Doar, 23, was stabbed in the chest on Sunday near the University of Texas campus while riding in a truck displaying support for Palestine
Shaimaa Zayan, left, holds Odi Doar, the mother of stabbing victim Zacharia Doar, as they stand near the podium during a press conference outside City Hall on Tuesday
The Travis County District Attorney´s Office said Wednesday that they are in the process of receiving the evidence from police and ‘look forward to working with them.’
An arrest affidavit said that Baker, who was on a bicycle, rode up to the truck Doar and three others were riding in, opened the tailgate and doors and yelled racial slurs at them.
The group exited the truck and approached Baker, who punched Doar in the shoulders, the affidavit said.
A fight ensued, with Baker eventually pulling out a knife and stabbing Doar in the rib, the affidavit said.
Doar is seen with his son. He is hospitalized but expected to recover
When Baker was interviewed by police, he said he was an alcoholic and had more to drink that day than he normally did, the affidavit said.
Baker was being held in jail on Thursday on $100,000 bond. Jail records did not list an attorney for him.
Threats against Jewish, Muslim and Arab communities increased across the U.S. during the Israel-Hamas war. Israel invaded Gaza after an October 7 attack on Israel by Hamas militants.
In Vermont in November, three college students of Palestinian descent were shot and seriously wounded while taking an evening walk in an attack that authorities are investigating as a possible hate crime.
In October, a landlord in Illinois was accused of fatally stabbing a 6-year-old Muslim boy and wounding his mother. He was charged with a hate crime after police and relatives said he singled out the victims because of their faith.