FRESNO (AP) — Prosecutors say the beating of an 82-year-old Sikh man outside a Fresno Sikh temple was a hate crime.
The Fresno County district attorney said Thursday that a hate crime charge was added to the case against 29-year-old Gilbert Garcia Jr.
Garcia pleaded not guilty to attempted murder and elder abuse earlier this month. Investigators say Garcia attacked Piara Singh with a pipe outside the Nanaksar Sikh Temple. Singh was hospitalized with head wounds, broken bones and ribs.
Civil rights groups say Sikh men — who wear beards and turbans as part of their faith — are sometimes mistaken for Muslims and targeted in bias-motivated attacks.
Garcia is in jail with bail set at nearly $1.7 million. He is scheduled to be in court on June 26th.