A 26-year-old transient was charged Tuesday with anti-Asian hate crimes in an attack on an elderly couple in a park in Orange.
Michael Orlando Vivona, 26, was charged with two counts of inflicting injury on an elder adult and two counts of violation of a civil rights with violent injury, all felonies. He also faces sentencing enhancement allegations for a hate crime.
Vivona is accused of walking up to a couple of Korean descent, about 7:35 p.m. Sunday at Grijalva Park, 358 N. Prospect St., and punching the pair without provocation, according to Sgt. Phil McMullin of the Orange Police Department. The victims are a 79-year-old man and his 80-year-old wife.
“They take a walk there almost six times a week,” McMullin said. “And, unprovoked, this (suspect) just walks up and punches them in the face.”
Vivona was not charged in connection with an angry, racially charged confrontation of U.S. Olympic karate athlete Sakura Kokumai, who is of Japanese descent, training at the park on April 1, a confrontation the athlete detailed on social media.
Multiple other people at the park, who were playing basketball at the time the couple was attacked, recognized Vivona for yelling at Kokumai, who is of Japanese descent, McMullin said.
“They recognized him from the previous attack on Sakura Kokumai and surrounded him,” McMullin said. “There was an officer right there across the street and we arrested him.”
Vivona did not say anything before his alleged attack on the couple, but under questioning by police, “He made statements that gave us enough information to determine the attacks are racially motivated,” McMullin said.
The man who was punched in the face cut his knee when he fell and was treated by paramedics at the scene, McMullin said. Neither he nor his wife needed to be taken to a hospital, the sergeant added.
Vivona has been living out of his car, McMullin said. He pleaded guilty in April 2018 to a misdemeanor count of disobeying a domestic relations court order and was placed on three years of formal probation. He has had probation revoked three times, according to court records.
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