An Asian-American California woman received a racist letter celebrating the recent death of her husband, a report said.
The woman’s daughter, Claudia Choi, called police Monday to report she feared for her 82-year-old mother’s safety, after the widow received the threatening letter at her home in a Orange County retirement home, according to KTLA.
“Now that [your husband] is gone makes it one less Asian to put up with in Leisure World,” the anonymous handwritten letter reportedly began.
The letter went on to say that members of the retirement home were not “resting well” with Asian Americans living among them, before warning the elderly woman to “watch out” and “go back to your country where you belong,” the Los Angeles station reported.
The menacing missive, which was post marked on the day of Byong Choi’s funeral, “disturbed the family very much,” Seal Beach police Lt. Nick Nicholas told the station.
“The real essence of this is that the family felt scared. And if they feel scared, then it meets some of the elements for criminal threats,” Nicholas said, as the department reportedly opened a hate crime probe into the threat.
Choi told KTLA her parents were married for almost 57 years, and her her Korean-American dad enjoyed living at Leisure World.
“He loved his neighbors, and many of them have reached out to me saying how much they loved him too,” Choi reportedly said.
“To have somebody rejoice his death, threaten my mother, tell us to go back home — this is our home,” she told the station. “They’ve lived here longer than they’ve lived anywhere else.”
In a statement, Leisure World denounced the hate and said it believed the suspect lives in the retirement home.
“This malicious and egregious act of hate speech threatens our core values of racial equity and social justice,” Leisure World wrote.
Seal Beach Police Chief Philip Gonshak tied the incident to a sharp nationwide uptick in hate against Asian Americans amid the coronavirus pandemic.
“Across the county we are seeing more and more violence committed against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. We will not allow this to happen in Seal Beach,” he said in a statement to KTLA.
Last week, the Stop AAPI Hate Reporting Center reported 3,795 firsthand accounts of hate incidents nationwide from March 19, 2020, to Feb. 28. Forty-five percent of them occurred in California.
The Asian-American community remains on edge since a lone gunman slaughtered six Asian woman during a massage parlor shooting spree that killed eight in metro-Atlanta last week.
The massacre has not been categorized as a hate crime.