Teen Victim in Staten Island Hate Crime: ‘I Thought I Was Gonna Die’

Barry Paddock, Rocco Parascondola, and Ryan Lavis, New York Daily News, August 3, 2010

The teen victim of the most recent bloody bias attack on Staten Island said Monday his ordeal was so frightening, he thought he would die.

Christian Vazquez, 18, was kicked and punched to the ground by assailants allegedly yelling anti-Mexican slurs–the latest in asurge of black-on-Hispanic assaults.

A 15-year-old–himself an immigrant from Liberia–was arrested in the ambush, and Vasquez demanded the rest of his tormentors turn themselves in.

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The attack was the 11th bias incident in the Port Richmond area since April.

Mayor Bloomberg worried copycat attacks are keeping the trend rolling on Staten Island.

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Vazquez was returning home from his job as a busboy at a Manhattan restaurant early Saturday when he was approached just blocks from his home by a teenager who asked him if he was a member of a Mexican gang. As he denied any gang affiliation, he was attacked from behind by three men. They stole the $10 he had on him.

“They started kicking me, calling me wetback, f—ing Mexican, all these things,” he said. “They hit me in the head so hard things were blurry.”

“I was terrified,” he added. “I thought I was gonna die that night.”

The 15-year-old charged in the attack, whose name is being withheld by the Daily News because he is a minor, was held after appearing at a hearing in Staten Island Family Court. The teen, who sported a Mohawk, is a U.S. citizen who moved here from Liberia, a police source said.

Vazquez–whose mother brought him to the U.S. from Mexico when he was just 5–has been active with a neighborhood youth group called Eye Openers Youth Against Violence for the past five years.

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