ORANGE (CBSLA) — A 25-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of assaulting an elderly Korean American couple and threatening a Japanese American Olympian in Orange.
Michael Vivona, of Corona, was arrested Sunday and faces hate crime charges of elder abuse and making criminal threats.READ MORE: Authorities Still Searching For Suspect Wanted In Fatal Palmdale Shooting On Friday
“We believe that this attack was racially motivated based on our investigation and our interview that happened afterwards,” Orange Police Department Sgt. Phil McMullin said. “He specifically said that he had a hate towards the Asian community.”
On 4/18/21 officers arrested 25-year-old Michael Vivona from Corona for assaulting an elderly Korean American couple. He was arrested for elder abuse & committing a hate crime. He was also arrested for threatening a Japanese American on 4/1/21. Vivona was booked at OCJ. #arrested pic.twitter.com/1wvromtMzm
— Orange Police Department (California) (@CityOfOrangePD) April 19, 2021
The Orange Police Department says Vivona punched a 79-year-old man and an 80-year-old woman who were out for a walk on Sunday. He is also suspected of berating U.S. Olympian and karate athlete Sakura Kokumai on April 1. Both incidents happened at Grijalva Park in Orange, and police say Vivona made a confession after his arrest.
READ MORE: Memorial For "The Fallen 13" Unveiled In Norco On Saturday
Kokumai said she didn’t know the man yelling at her and threatening to hurt her for no reason, but she said what hurt more was that no one else at the crowded park responded to the man’s tirade.
“In that moment, I thought, ‘gosh, this guy is just crazy.’ But when I zoomed out I realized there were a lot of people at the park,” Kokumai wrote in an Instagram post. “Yes a women did come up and asked if I was ok towards the end as it escalated…but for the longest time no one cared. People would walk by, some even smiled. And I didn’t know what to do.”MORE NEWS: 2 Dead, 1 Critically Injured In Willowbrook Crash Stemming From Pursuit
Vivona is being held on $65,000 bail and is scheduled to appear in court Wednesday.