The California Highway Patrol is currently probing a hit-and-run incident that occurred on Stanford University’s premises, with indications suggesting it was a potential hate crime.
The hitting incident, now under hate crime investigation, was shared by Stanford’s Public Safety Department in a recent weekend update. The survivor of the incident, an Arab Muslim student, recounted the driver as a Caucasian male in his mid-twenties, with dirty blonde hair, a short beard, and dressed in a gray shirt. The driver sported round glasses during the incident.
The student stated that the driver sped up after making eye contact with him, hit him, and then sped off, yelling derogatory remarks about his ethnicity through the car window.
The incident was reported around 2 p.m. on Friday near Campus Drive and Ayrshire Farm Lane, in the vicinity of Bowdoin Lane. Campus law enforcement said that the student’s injuries were not critical.
NBC News identified the victim as Abdulwahab Omira, an Arab Muslim scholar. Lying in his hospital bed, Omira sent a heartfelt message to the public, emphasizing the power of love, kindness, and understanding in a world increasingly characterized by prejudice and hate. He urged readers to actively reject bigotry, hatred, and violence and embrace unity and diversity.
Omira voiced his dissatisfaction with Stanford’s late response, which came six hours after the incident and only after a wave of emails demanding acknowledgment.
When contacted, a Stanford representative explained that the notice was issued as soon as enough information was available from the California Highway Patrol. In a message to the university community, Stanford’s President, Richard Saller, and Provost, Jenny Martinez, expressed their deep concerns about the incident and condemned any form of violence, especially those based on hate.
The university spokesperson said the California Highway Patrol was the first to respond and handle the investigation. However, the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office has since been given primary investigative responsibility and has confirmed the initiation of a hate crime investigation. The Sheriff’s office has asked anyone with information to contact them.