Michael Vivona Wiki – Arrested, Investigation
- Weeks after police said there was a man threatening Olympic athlete Sakura Kokumai in Orange County park, authorities alleged that he attacked an elderly couple at the same location, which led to his arrest on Sunday night.Orange police said 25-year-old Michael Vivona punched two Korean Americans in the face at Grijalva Park – the same site where Kokumai shot a man who abused him about three weeks ago.
A 79-year-old man and an 80-year-old woman were taking a stroll through the park on Sunday evening as Vivona approached them around 7:30 pm. Orange police spokesman Phil McMullin knocked them both down with his fists without saying much.
“When he attacked the old couple, he did not make any statement, but later in our meeting his statements informed us that it was a racist attack,” said McMullin, adding that Vivona had made many such comments. “He has an obsession with Asians. He basically said he did it because they were Asian, I guess because he said they were Chinese.”
McMullin said the Korean-American man and woman had minor injuries. Arriving at the scene, Orange Fire department officials assisted the man who had a wear on his leg due to the fall.
On April 1, Kokumai, a karate champion scheduled to represent the United States at the 2021 Olympic Games, was warming up for a run at Grijalva Park at around 5pm. When he saw a man, the police determined that Vivona was yelling and pointing at him.
“You’re the loser. Go home, you stupid slut.” I’ll blow you off.
Kokumai, a Japanese American woman born in Hawaii, made videos where a man was heard shouting “China”. He sent the videos to 32,000 Instagram followers. Kokumai said that several people walked on during the interaction, but no one offered to help until after.
“It felt like the longest time for the interaction, but nobody did much,” Kokumai said at the park on Sunday that Passersby was aware of Kokumai’s story and knew the man wearing the same black T-shirt and orange shorts as in his videos. McMullin, he said.
Several people surrounded the man and called the police. McMullin said that an officer across the street responded and arrested Vivona at the scene where the old couple was attacked.
“The community was great,” she said. It wasn’t like they were beating him… but they recognized him.
Police detained Vivona on suspicion of elder abuse, criminal threats and hate crimes in connection with the assault on the couple and threats against Kokumai.
Vivona, a warehouse worker who registered an address in Corona but turned out to be homeless, was booked on $ 65,000 bail at the Theo Lacy prison in Orange County, according to online records. His court will be held on Tuesday. It has not yet been formally charged.
McMullin Vivona probably lives outside of the car Kokumai photographed. The Sunday night attack was the second harbinger of his vehicle.
“Only two things we have,” said McMullin of the anti-Asian incidents, “but if there was more, we would definitely ask them to call us.” Orange County saw a ten-fold increase in hate incident reports in 2020, a nonprofit that works closely with the county to track and respond to hate crimes and racism, according to Alison Edwards, CEO of Orange County Human Relations. In addition to the two attacks police associated with Vivona, several other anti-Asian incidents have recently been recorded in the county with the country’s third largest Asian population.
A Ladera Farm family has been repeatedly harassed for several months with stones, verbal attacks, and knocking on their doors. Another man was also charged with hate crime after authorities said he threw stones at an Asian mother and her 6-year-old son in their car in Fullerton. Seal Beach police are investigating a racist letter sent to a Korean American woman living in the Leisure World retirement village.
A wave of anti-Asian incidents prompted the county Board of Supervisors to pass two resolutions unanimously in March that pledged to take action against racism and condemned all hate crimes.