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Police sought the public’s help Monday in identifying the assailant who attacked a 69-year-old Asian man during a dispute between their dogs last week in Irvine.
The assault took place around 7 p.m. Friday as the victim was walking his dog outside Sierra Vista Middle School, Irvine police said in a news release.
Because the victim is Asian, police say they have not ruled out the possibility it could be a hate crime. However, investigators have yet to determine any motive.
The victim told police he’d seen the attacker jogging and kicking a soccer ball in the area, with a dog that appeared to be in his care off-leash nearby.
The victim had picked up his own dog to avoid conflict when the suspect’s dog — described as large, black-and-white and possibly a Husky — approached them aggressively, officials said.
But the larger dog returned minutes later, and the victim lost hold of his dog’s leash. The pooches began fighting, so the victim tried to separate them, police said.
But while he was trying to do so, he was hit in the head from behind by the young male he’d seen with a soccer ball, according to investigators.
No words were exchanged between the suspect and victim, police told KTLA.
The assailant left the grassy area with the large dog, while the victim was taken to a hospital for treatment.
Police say they were notified of the incident that same day and began investigating.
On Monday, they released a picture that the victim was able to take of his attacker as the young man left the area, as well as surveillance video that captured the incident.
Police describe the suspect as a male in his late teens with a darker complexion.
During the attack, he was wearing a dark T-shirt over a white, long-sleeve shirt, and dark shorts over white leggings or socks. He was also carrying a white backpack, officials said.
Detectives believe the suspect may be associated with a white sedan or coupe car.
Anyone with information can contact Detective Gavin Hudson at 949-724-7168 or GHudson@cityofirvine.org.
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