A Milwaukee man is afraid to live in his own city after being attacked with acid outside of a Mexican restaurant on Friday night.
At a Saturday press conference with city officials and activists, Mahud Villalaz, showed second-degree burns on his face and shared the shocking encounter with a deranged fool who threw acid on him from a metal bottle who chastised him about his citizenship status.
“’Why did you come here and invade my country?’” Villalaz said the man—described as white, about 6 feet tall with a medium build—asked him, as reported by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
The 42-year-old Milwaukee resident is a U.S. citizen grew up in Peru and immigrated to America as a young man, according to the outlet.
He said Saturday that he’s fearful to walk around in his own city.
“I feel scared being an American citizen. I feel scared that I cannot feel protected in my own country with my neighbors,” Villalaz, whose left cheek, ear and neck were discolored where the acid seared the skin.
The acid also damaged his left eye.
“It’s the first time in my life I’ve experienced someone’s hate like that,” he said.
Democratic politician Rep. JoCasta Zamarripa joined Villalaz at the news conference and expressed her outrage at the attack, which police are reportedly investigating at a hate crime.
“I’m angry that an innocent man has been so viciously attacked. I’m angry that a racist was able to live out his beliefs through violence against one of my constituents,” he said.
The Milwaukee-based advocacy group Forward Latino posted images of Villalaz on Twitter on Sunday.
“I don’t see how it could be anything else, as this is, sadly and tragically, a textbook case of hate,” the organization’s president Darryl Morin said. “I dare say it was premeditated—because no one walks around with a bottle of acid and hangs out in a predominantly Latino neighborhood for no reason.”