San Diego

Hate Crime Charges Filed Against Man Accused of Attacking Trolley Rider

The suspect allegedly punched an Afghan father after threatening to kill his family

san diego mts trolley
NBC 7 San Diego

A San Diego man who allegedly told an Afghan trolley passenger "Go back to where you came from, I hate you," before punching him was arrested Thursday and charged with felony battery and hate crimes.

The attack happened on an MTS trolley car in the Grantville neighborhood on Feb. 26, according to the San Diego Police Department.

Robert Compton, 48, allegedly approached an Afghan family on the trolley and threatened to kill them before telling them to go back to Afghanistan. Compton punched the father, causing multiple fractures to his face, then got off the trolley, SDPD said.

Evidence obtained from Smart Street Lights in the city led investigators to Compton, and also helped them identify him as a suspect in another felony battery on Feb. 28. The second attack is not believed to be hate-motivated, SDPD said.

Compton was arrested Thursday at 800 Market Street.

The victim and his family recently moved to San Diego from Afghanistan. At the time of the attack, they were on a tour of the city led by a charity helping them with their transition, police said.

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