RICHMOND, Calif. (KTVU) - A Sikh man who works as a taxi driver was attacked near his home in Richmond. The victim's family and friends believe it was a hate crime and he was singled out because of his appearance.
Baljeet Singh Sidhu, 57, was left with bumps, cuts, and bruises after the incident at Hilltop Mall. It happened at about 4 a.m. Sunday after his shift ended.
Sidhu was parking near his home when a man came up to his cab and asked him for a lighter. Sidhu said he didn't have one and the man left, but then he returned with another request.
"He asked me and said he had $5 and he needed a ride. It looked suspicious," Sidhu said.
He told the man his shift was over. Then the suspect came back a third time and that's when Sidhu was attacked and hit in the head with a barbeque lid.
The victim recalled, "Then he hit me a number of times. I have so many wounds."
Sidhu fell down, but the attack wasn't over.
"He choked my neck with his arm, so then my main concen was to unchoke myself," he said.
Once Sidhu freed himself, he yelled for help. A Hilltop Mall security came to help and the attacker took off.
His daughter ran over after he called her.
Gaganjot Sidhu said, "His turban was off and blood all over his face. It was the most terrifying thing I've ever seen. Like no daughter wants to see her father in that condition."
The attacker didn't use any slurs and didn't rob him of any money, but Sidhu says he was targeted because of how he looks.
"We can see that I'm wearing a turban. I have a beard. We look different," he said.
His daughter believes the incident is a hate crime saying, "he had a clear intention of hurting my dad."
The man's family said a neighbor's surveillance camera captured footage of the suspect not long before the attack.
"He was clearly hiding and you know waiting to attempt the attack," the victim's daughter said.
Sidhu said he managed to grab his attacker's hoodie, which he turned over to investigators.