Berkeley man charged with hate crime for alleged rock attack on Asian man

BERKELEY, Calif. —A homeless Hispanic man was charged June 21 with assault with a deadly weapon and a hate crime enhancement for alleging attacking an Asian American man with a rock in downtown Berkeley the morning of June 19, prosecutors and police said.

Jeffrey Pachingger, 38, voluntarily came to the Berkeley Police Department after the alleged attack at the bike racks at Shattuck Avenue and Center Street at about 9:30 a.m. on June 19 and admitted to hitting the victim with a rock because of “an illegal Asian takeover,” Officer Jason Muniz wrote in a probable cause statement.

When he was interviewed after being notified of his rights, Pachingger “admitted to willfully trying to kill the victim because of his ethnicity and his belief of ‘an Asian takeover,” Muniz said.

Police spokesman Officer Byron White said the victim returned to the bike racks at Shattuck Avenue and Center Street and bent over to unlock his bike when a suspect, later identified as Pachingger, struck him from behind in the back of his head with a large rock. Muniz said the victim felt dizzy and thought he was going to lose consciousness and ran north on Shattuck Avenue because he thought Pachingger would hit him again. The victim was transported to a hospital to be treated for a head injury, White said.

The violent attack was at least the second by a homeless person in downtown Berkeley in less than a week, as on June 13 a homeless man punched a police officer and gave her a concussion when she tried to help him at the corner of Allston Way and Shattuck Avenue.

Muniz said he arrested Pachingger on suspicion of attempted murder and commission of a hate crime because hitting the victim in the back of his head with a rock could have caused death or serious bodily injury and because he “admitted that he hit the victim with a rock because he was trying to kill him.”

Pachingger also “admitted that his malice toward the victim was due to the victim’s ethnicity,” Muniz wrote.

However, the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office decided to charge Pachingger with assault with a deadly weapon instead of attempted murder.

In addition, it charged him with battery with serious bodily injury.

Pachingger, who’s being held at the Berkeley Jail in lieu of $130,000 bail, was arraigned June 21 and was scheduled to return to court on June 22 to possibly enter a plea.

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