SAN DIEGO — Battery charges and a hate crime allegation were filed Monday against a man accused of assaulting three Muslim women in Little Italy and using hate speech during the confrontation.
Kyle Erik Allen, 50, allegedly confronted and attacked the victims, who were wearing hijabs, near Columbia and Beech streets on Oct. 6.
According to Deputy District Attorney Leonard Trinh, the women were walking when they encountered Allen, who allegedly shoved his shoulder into one of the women, struck another woman with an open hand and tried to remove another woman's hijab from her head while yelling "go back to your country. Go back to where you came from!"
Allen's attorney, Kerry Armstrong, said his client "is not a racist whatsoever. It's a very unfortunate incident."
Allen was attacked at the scene by an unknown number of bystanders, sustaining injuries to the side of his face, according to Armstrong.
When police went to Allen's apartment that day, he allegedly answered the door carrying a firearm with a silencer, according to the prosecutor. A total of 10 firearms were confiscated from the residence, authorities said.
Allen could face up to four years and four months behind bars if convicted of the three felony battery charges. Battery is typically a misdemeanor, Trinh said, but the hate crime allegation made it a felony case.
Superior Court Judge Joseph Brannigan granted protective orders preventing Allen from contacting the alleged victims or being within 100 yards of them.
Allen, who posted $50,000 bail, is due back in court on Dec. 5 for a readiness conference, with a preliminary hearing scheduled for Dec. 19.
"Hate crimes do not affect just the immediate victims -- there's a ripple effect to those who share a victim's religion, race, ethnic background, sexual or gender orientation, or disability," said San Diego County District Attorney Summer Stephan.
"No one in San Diego County should be afraid of exercising their religious freedom and my office is committed to holding individuals accountable -- in this case and others -- when hate is the basis of their crimes."