O.C. Teen Says He Was Stabbed For Speaking Arabic, Vacationing Cop Among 3 Arrested
Huntington Beach Police arrested three people for stabbing a teenager outside a gym, including an Illinois police officer who was vacationing in Southern California. The victim, 17-year-old Karam Jarrah, says he was targeted because he was speaking in Arabic to another man, according to KABC.
The stabbing happened outside a 24 Hour Fitness center on 3rd Street in Huntington Beach on Sunday afternoon. Jarrah was walking down the street with his brother-in-law, supposedly speaking in Arabic, when three people in a park car began arguing with them.
The argument escalated, coaxing the three suspects to exit the car and confront Jarrah, who wound up getting stabbed. The three suspects fled in their vehicle, but were arrested relatively quickly. Jarrah was hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries.
All of the suspects are family members. Both 27-year-old Jessica Roman and 25-year-old Martin Roman are both residents of Lake Forest. They were being visited by their brother Arthur Roman of Tinley Park, Illinois, who works as a police officer in Oak Forest, Illinois. KABC reports that Martin Roman was the suspect who allegedly stabbed Jarrah. All three were arrested on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon and battery. All three were also released on bail, according to KCBS.
"He was like, 'What's up 'obamabam?' I don't even know what that means," Jarrah recalled to KABC. "Was it like a racial issue, like is it because we were speaking Arabic or can it be the way we look?"
Despite Jarrah's wonders, Huntington Beach Police told KCBS that this was not a racially motivated crime. Instead, HBPD says the stabbing was the result of "a spur-of-the-moment argument."