HOUSTON (CBS Local) — A couple visiting Houston over the Memorial Day holiday says they were victims of a racially-motivated public tirade by a woman carrying a hammer.
Dr. Lia Franco and her husband, Arturo Cordovez, are natives of Ecuador who live in New Orleans. Dr. Franco has been treating COVID-19 patients, so the couple decided to spend the Memorial Day holiday in Houston to unwind. The couple was looking for a restaurant near South Shepherd and Westheimer roads in southwest Houston on Sunday when they noticed a woman following in a car behind them.READ MORE: 'I Saw The Suffering In People's Faces: Sacramento Man Finds Strollers For War-Torn Refugees
“So we stopped a little bit on the side and she was still there,” Franco told KPRC.
“She stopped behind us,” Cordovez said. “After that she started showing a hammer through the mirror. She was shaking her arm … and cursing at us I think. I was thinking what did I do?”
— KPRC 2 Houston (@KPRC2) May 27, 2020
The couple said they called 911 and turned into a gas station where the woman pulled beside them and started screaming.READ MORE: Massive Outdoor Recreation Area Nears Opening In Elk Grove
“And we go, ‘What do you want?'” Franco said. “And she screamed, ‘You Mexicans, get out of my f**ing country. Go back to your f**ing country.’”
KPRC aired brief video and still images of the woman as she got out of her car, waving a hammer in her hand. Before the situation escalated further, however, the police arrived and took her into custody.
Constance Lynn Bono, 60, was charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. The charge could be upgraded if prosecutors believe racism was the motive, KPRC reported.MORE NEWS: 'You Have To Be Totally Prepared Up Here': Early-Season Snowstorm Hits Sierra
“I think she needs help, she needs treatment, but that doesn’t justify the fact she needs to follow the laws of her country,” Dr. Franco said.