SJ hate crime victim talks about attack

January 28, 2012 1:09:08 AM PST
A South Bay man who was brutally beaten and called a terrorist is speaking out for the first time since his attack last Nov. 21. Friday, police released the first sketch of one of those attackers.

Atul Lall is the 32-year-old East Indian industrial designer who was attacked. He says he's had nightmares and is afraid to leave his San Jose home since the attack. San Jose police are now asking for the public's help in finding his attackers.

"I just got into the car and just backed out of my spot," Lall said.

Lall says he now lives in pain and fear. It's all because of a trip he made to a Lucky's store Monday, Nov. 21, 2011. Three men approached his car as he was leaving.

"They started hitting me and then they started calling me a terrorist," Lall said. "They spit on me, they poured alcohol on me and then a third member came out of nowhere when it looked like I was going to defend myself."

Lall lost six teeth, has a scarred jaw and two titanium plates in his face holding his jaw together. That injury, he says, was caused by a bottle of tequila, which his attackers dropped into the car after hitting him in the face.

"I firmly believe that if the bottle hadn't gotten stuck they would have used it again and would not have stopped until I was unconscious or perhaps even dead," Lall said.

Lall says the parking lot was filled with pre-Thanksgiving shoppers at about 9 p.m. and no one came forward to help.

"I was literally maybe 5-10 feet away from where the entrance to the store is," Lall said.

No one has come forward since the attack and that's why San Jose police released a sketch of one of the suspects on Friday. He's described as a Hispanic male 5 foot 6 to 5 foot 9, weighing about 200 pounds.

Lall complains that the police have been slow to investigate. San Jose police spokesperson Sgt. Jason Dwyer told ABC7 that "The attack is being treated as a hate crime. We understand the frustration of the victim and take the attack very seriously. We have exhausted all leads and are now asking for the public for help."

Lall says he wants justice. He lost his job as a technical designer after the attack. His medical bills now total some $20,000. He's having nightmares and says he's afraid to leave his home.

"I don't like going out in public because I feel vulnerable; I feel very unsafe," Lall said.

San Jose police are asking for witnesses to come forward. Anyone who was in the South White Road's Lucky's parking lot at about 9 p.m. on Nov. 21, 2011and saw the attack is asked to give them a call.