SACRAMENTO — Two men were attacked in the bathroom of a midtown Sacramento bar Friday and police are now calling the incident a hate crime.
“I’m sorry. It’s just really sad to see them go through this ’cause they don’t deserve this,” said Alicia Rivera, Ismael Aranda’s wife, through tears.
Rivera won’t know until next week if her husband will ever be able to see out of his left eye again.
“Pain,” Aranda said. “You just feel like pulsing. It comes and goes.”
It was last Friday night when Aranda and his friend, Julio Villarman, say they were assaulted inside the bathroom of Highwater bar in midtown Sacramento for what police have characterized as a hate crime.
Villarman was on the phone with his sister when the suspect apparently overheard his conversation talking about his boyfriend.
“He’s yelling that I’m a (expletive) and he yelled that I molest kids. And then he started punching… immediately after that,” Villarman said.
“It just went from zero to one hundred really fast,” Aranda said. “We didn’t even get a chance to say anything.”
Then punches began to fly.
“I was holding my phone. He punched right here and it just hit my jaw, and cheek and lip,” Villarman said.
The suspect then turned to Aranda and struck him with one solid hit to his left eye.
“The only thing I remember is feeling a gush of wind and that’s it,” he said.
The suspect quickly left after the attack.
“Our investigators have obtained video surveillance that they are going through right now in hopes of identifying a suspect and hopefully being able to make an arrest,” said Detective Eddie MacAulay with the Sacramento Police Department.
Once at the hospital, Rivera was told by doctors that her husband suffered a blowout fracture to the eye socket and a ruptured eye.
“He said usually in cases like this they just remove the eye,” Rivera said.
After a nearly two-hour surgery, doctors made the needed repairs. Now the couple awaits the fate of his eye as it heals.
Aranda and Villarman are middle school teachers and have had to miss time away from their students to recuperate. They want their students to know that although there are hateful people in this world it’s best to uphold “tolerance.”
“Even the words that people use, can make them feel very unsafe and unhappy,” Villarman said.
“But just because they exist, doesn’t mean that good people don’t exist either. and that we gotta fight it back with as much love, as much love as possible,” Aranda said.
The victims described the suspect as Caucasian, between 5 feet 9 inches to 5 feet 11 inches tall with short, straight brown hair. He was wearing a blue hoodie and loose-fitting dark jeans.
A GoFundMe page has been created to help support Aranda and his wife during his recovery.