Man arrested for violent hate crime attack on Asian man during basketball game in California

Man arrested for violent hate crime attack on Asian man during basketball game in California
via Tom Briskey on Unsplash
Michelle De Pacina
June 20, 2023
A man from Ontario, California, was arrested for an alleged hate crime attack on an Asian man during a basketball game in Azusa.
What happened: Sebastian Espinosa, 27, is accused of beating up a 34-year-old Asian man during a basketball game at Memorial Park in the 300 block of North Orange Avenue in Azusa on Dec. 23, 2022. The two were reportedly on opposing teams.
When the victim was on the ground, Espinosa continued to punch him in the head and face as the victim was “putting up no self-defense,” according to police.
“As the suspect was being pulled away from the victim, he delivered one final attack by kicking the victim’s head and face before yelling a racially derogatory slur at the victim,” the police statement read, according to the San Gabriel Valley Tribune.
The victim reportedly received stitches in his mouth at a hospital as a result of the attack.
Investigation: Espinosa fled the scene by the time police arrived. According to Azusa police Sgt. Seth Chapman, a witness lied to police about the suspect’s identity and gave a false name. However, detectives were later able to identify the suspect. 
“Through the investigation, it was learned that the suspect attacked an Asian male who was playing in the game, seemingly unprovoked,” Azusa police said. 
Although it has not been released, the assault was captured on a court side surveillance camera, according to police.
Arrest and charges: On June 15, Espinosa was located in Ontario and was arrested. He was booked on suspicion of a hate crime and assault with a deadly weapon. He is being held at the Azusa police jail on $30,000 bail
“The California Penal Code defines hands and feet as deadly weapons when they are used to commit an assault where great bodily injury occurred or is likely to occur,” authorities noted.
Anyone with information about the incident is urged to contact the Azusa Police Department at 626-812-3200. Anonymous tips can be submitted to Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 or online at
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