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Man Who Harassed Olympian Sakura Kokumai Arrested After Assaulting Elderly Couple in OC Park

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    A man who was filmed harassing Olympic athlete Sakura Kokumai weeks ago in Orange County has been arrested after also allegedly attacking an elderly Korean American couple in the same location.

    Michael Vivona, 25, was apprehended by Orange police for punching a 79-year-old man and 80-year-old woman in their faces at Grijalva Park on Sunday evening, LA Times reported.

    Vivona reportedly attacked the Asian couple at around 7:30 p.m. as they were taking a stroll in the same park where he also threatened Kokumai about three weeks ago.

    Orange Police Department Sgt. Phil McMullin said Vivona approached the elderly pair without saying much and then started punching them. The victims, who were both knocked to the ground, suffered minor injuries.

    The Orange Fire Department responded to the scene and assisted the elderly man after sustaining an abrasion on his leg.

    According to McMullin, Vivona admitted that he attacked the couple because they were Asian.

     

    “We believe that this attack was racially motivated based on our investigation and our interview that happened afterwards,” McMullin told CBSLA. “He specifically said that he had a hate towards the Asian community.”

    He also described Vivona as having a “fixation against Asians.” 

    On April 1, Kokumai, a karate champion set to represent the U.S. in the 2021 Olympics, was approached by Vivona as she was doing warm-ups in the same park at around 5 p.m.

    Vivona was gesturing at the athlete as he screamed: “You’re a loser. Go home, you stupid b**ch,” he said. “I’ll f**k you up.”

     

    View this post on Instagram

     

    A post shared by Sakura Kokumai (@sakurakokumaikarate)

    Kokumai filmed Vivona yelling and uploaded the clips on Instagram, NextShark previously reported.

    “I’ll f**k you up — I’ll f**k your husband up or boyfriend or whoever you’re talking to on the phone,” the man can be heard saying in one of the videos.

    She noted that while several people saw the incident, none offered to help until after it was over.

    On Sunday, those in the park who knew about Kokumai’s story recognized Vivona, who was in the same outfit as he was in her videos, surrounded him and called the police. 

    Vivona was soon arrested on the “suspicion of elder abuse, criminal threats and hate crimes in connection with the attack on the couple and the threats [made] against Kokumai.” He is currently booked in the Theo Lacy jail facility in Orange County with bail set at $65,000.

    The suspect is a warehouse worker who seems to be experiencing homelessness and possibly living out of his car despite having an address listed in Corona, McMullin said. He has not been formally charged and his arraignment has been set for Tuesday. 

    Featured Image via (right) Orange Police Department and (left) Sakura Kokumai

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