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Man accused of attacking Syrian refugee aboard trolley car arrested

Posted at 8:02 PM, Oct 22, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-23 12:05:58-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) -- San Diego Harbor Police Tuesday arrested a man accused of attacking a teen Syrian refugee on board an MTS trolley, sparking a hate crime investigation.

According to police, 26-year-old Adrian Vergara was arrested on an unrelated misdemeanor narcotic charge.

During his arrest, Vergara was recognized as being wanted in connection to an ongoing hate crime investigation, police said.

The arrest stems from the beating of a 17-year-old Syrian refugee on a San Diego Trolley car Oct. 15.

Representatives for the Partnership for the Advancement of New Americans (PANA), who spoke on the teen's behalf, told 10News the teen was speaking Arabic while on FaceTime with a friend when a man on the trolley asked him, "Where are you from? Are you Mexican?"

RELATED: Teen attacked on trolley in possible hate crime

The teen reportedly responded, "No, I am Arab."

According to the teen, the man then started punching him and cursing while using racial slurs.

The victim reportedly exited the trolley at the 62nd Street station in Encanto. He said the man also got off the trolley and left the scene.

Numerous people reportedly watched as the victim was attacked, but no one stepped in to help him. Police have obtained video of the attack and said it confirms what the victim reported.

Anyone with information on the incident is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 888-580-8477.