A 57-year-old woman is due in Las Vegas criminal court today for allegedly striking a six-year-old Asian child in the head while on the Las Vegas Strip.
The boy was accompanied by his mother while the two were shopping on July 5. For no clear reason, Shelly Ann Hill allegedly began striking the boy and uttering racial slurs, authorities claim.
Metro police located her on Saturday. She was later charged with committing a hate crime and battery, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported. Hill spent the weekend in the Clark County Correctional Facility. She was still there as of Tuesday morning.
If convicted of the two charges, Hill could face a prison sentence. Racial motivation is a factor for prosecutors trying to prove a hate crime charge under Nevada law.
The incident took place near Miracle Mile Shops, located on Las Vegas Boulevard South. The retail mall stretches 1.2 miles. Close by is the Jockey Club, an all-suite hotel. North of the location is the iconic gaming properties: Paris Las Vegas and the Bellagio.
Following the attack, the boy’s mother posted a video of the incident on TikTok.
She punched my six-year-old in the neck while yelling racist, anti-Asian things,” the mother, who posted on the social media site as @uhmmajo, was quoted by the Review-Journal.
The boy did not suffer physical injuries during the attack, police said.
Asian Americans in Las Vegas and nationwide have reported an increase in hate crimes since the COVID-19 pandemic.
One UNLV student, identified as Ava Carino, told KLAS, a Las Vegas TV station, she was followed last year and was “spit on. I was called numerous slurs.”
The uptick in racially motivated crime against Asians has got leaders of the Asian-American community in Las Vegas concerned.
We have to have a good plan,” said Sonny Vinuya, president of the Las Vegas Asian Chamber of Commerce, and a member of the Clark County Asian-American Pacific Islanders Community Commission told KLAS in May.“We’ve talked about a hotline, for example. We’ve talked about counseling, maybe. We’ve talked about education. So, all of those things factor in. But we have to come up with a good plan.”
Incidents against Asians have taken place nationwide at gaming properties. In March, a violent confrontation occurred at Arkansas’ Oaklawn Casino, when a fire captain allegedly hurled racial insults and threatened to kill an Asian American man.
Bentonville, Ark. Fire Captain Benjamin Snodgrass was later arrested. He then quit his job and apologized for his actions.
Both he and the victim, Liem Nguyen, suffered injuries in the struggle outside of the Hot Springs casino.