Dashcam video captured a man robbing and assaulting an elderly Asian Lyft driver at gunpoint in South El Monte while stopping at a gas station in between rides.
Paul Liao, 67, was working a night shift on Monday when he decided to stop at an Arco gas station. Liao said he had just finished washing his car and was waiting for his next ride when the suspect jumped into the backseat of his car and pointed a gun at him demanding him to hand over his wallet.
In the video footage, the suspect can be seen grabbing Liao's phone and hand him over all of his cash, which he earned from another driving job. The cash amounted to about $1,500, according to Liao's daughter-in-law Christine Ting.
After taking the money the suspect then asked Lao to get out of his car and demanded the keys. However, Lao told him his BMW is keyless and can only be driven by him. The suspect then became angry and hit Lao on his face with the gun, leaving him with a bloody nose, before exiting the vehicle. Watch the video below:
Attack Motivated by Race?
The suspect has not yet been arrested and the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department is investigating the incident, calling it a crime of opportunity. Liao, who is of Taiwanese origin, says the suspect did not ask about his race and whether he came from China.
The LASD will be looking at elder abuse charges and if the suspect singled out the victim for his race or ethnicity, which would be a motivating factor for a hate crime.
GoFundMe Set Up for Liao
Liao suffered a fractured nose from the assault and Teng has now set up a GoFundMe page for her father-in-law to help pay for a new cellphone and cover his medical expenses. The fundraiser has already amassed more than $13,400 in donations.
Lyft Issues Statement
Lyft issued the following statement on Twitter in the wake of the attack:
"Driver safety is fundamental to Lyft, and the incident shown here is heartbreaking to watch. We are in touch with the driver's family to offer our support and stand ready to assist law enforcement however we can.