Police in San Jose are on the lookout for a woman who appeared to deliberately cough on a 1-year-old child after insisting his mother was standing too close. The suspect, whose act was captured on video, is now wanted for assault.
The disturbing incident unfolded at a San Jose restaurant earlier this month, in which the unidentified woman is seen in surveillance footage standing in line alongside a mother pushing her baby in a stroller. According to a police press release, the woman became angry that the mother “was not maintaining proper social distancing,” and in retaliation “removed her face mask, got close to the baby’s face, and coughed 2-3 times.” She left the scene immediately afterward.
The mother, identified as Mireya Mora by a local NBC affiliate, said that during the brief dispute, the woman also made what she believes to be a racist comment. “She said, ‘so you don’t understand, and do you even understand what I’m saying, like I’m not even speaking English,” said Mora, who is Hispanic.
I can’t believe that someone has the heart to do this – and why? My child did nothing wrong.
The San Jose Police Department has called on the public to help identify the suspect – a white woman of medium build thought to be in her 60s – who remains at large.
Though the woman is currently wanted for simple assault, some jurisdictions have considered prosecuting similar deliberate “coughing attacks” as acts of terrorism amid the Covid-19 pandemic, with the Department of Justice classifying the virus as a “biological agent.”
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