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Woman Accused in Crowbar Attack at Walmart Targeted Little Girl For Being Asian, Prosecutors Say

Maria Garate, 20, was arraigned on premeditated attempted murder with a hate crime allegation and assault with a deadly weapon with a hate crime from attack at the Story Road store.

Maria Garate. Photo: BCN.
Maria Garate. Photo: BCN.
A woman accused of attacking a 4-year-old girl and her father with a crowbar in a Walmart Superstore in Tuesday targeted the pair because they were Asian, prosecutors said today.

Maria Garate, 20, was arraigned in Santa Clara County Superior Court today on charges of premeditated attempted murder with a hate crime allegation and assault with a deadly weapon with a hate crime and is being held in jail without bail, Deputy District Attorney Kalila Spain said.

[Previous: Girl, 4, Attacked with Crowbar at Story Road Walmart.]

Spain, at a news conference outside the Hall of Justice in San Jose, said that Garate, a transient from San Jose, went into the Walmart Supercenter at 777 Story Road with the intent to attack Asians.

"Based on the evidence that we do have, we do know that the victims were targeted because they were Asian, so that is why we charged the hate crime allegation," she said.

At about 11 a.m. Tuesday, San Jose police were informed about an assault with a deadly weapon at the Walmart on Story Road.

A woman later identified as Garate allegedly went up to an Asian man who was with his 4-year-old daughter, then struck the girl over the head with a tire iron, police Sgt. Heather Randol said.

When the woman tried to strike the girl another time, the father was also struck as he attempted to protect the girl.

Walmart security guards detained Garate until police arrived. Police arrested Garate on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon and booked her into county jail.

Spain said that the girl and her father were shopping "like any other day" and "the defendant came in and hit the victim over the head with a lug nut wrench and also attacked the father as well," Spain said.

The man was not seriously hurt but the girl was transported to a hospital with non-life threatening injuries. The child has since left the hospital, Spain said.

"We do know that the victim is at home and she is recovering," Spain said.

Spain declined to be specific concerning the evidence the district attorney's office has except that the alleged assault was "a premeditated, willful act" on Garate's part.

In a booking photo released by San Jose police on Wednesday, Garate is seen smiling with her head turned slightly.

Spain, asked by a reporter if Garate may be mentally ill, said that the prosecutors "don't know why people commit the crimes that they do."

"Sometimes we do, sometimes we don't," she said. "There are a variety of defenses for any type of crime that we charge. Any additional information will come out later."

Garate's next appearance in court is scheduled for May 23, according to the district attorney's office.

--Bay City News
JMarsh May 17, 2014 at 11:08 AM
I hope the child is okay. I hope they lock her up and determine if she is mentally ill. If she is, then she needs to be put into a program for criminally insane people. She is a danger to the public.
Ken May 23, 2014 at 05:39 PM
From the looks of Garates right eye maybe she had been hit with a crowbar at some time. Definitely she has some possible violent tendancies or had taken the wrong drug that day. Actually this article is confusing. In the caption the author clearly lists a crowbar as the weapon but later in the report lists the weapon as a lug nut wrench. Is it possible the article author doesn't know the difference between the two tools?

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