Police are searching for a suspect after they say a woman wearing a hijab was shopping with her infant at a London, Ont. supermarket when an angry assailant suddenly spat on her, punched her repeatedly and tried to pull off her headscarf.
London police said that after the female suspect failed to remove the hijab, she started pulling the woman’s hair and then fled the area.
The incident began when the suspect, who was wearing a red “CANADA” T-shirt, approached the woman while she was shopping with her 4-month-old son, police said.
According to police the suspect yelled at the woman “for no apparent reason” in a heavy accent in an unknown language before beginning the attack.
They said the victim suffered minor injuries in the incident, which happened around 5 p.m. Monday at the Superking Supermarket.
Const. Sandasha Bough told Global News investigators will review the incident for any “hate or bias-motivated elements” and pursue hate-crime charges if there are grounds to do so.
Federal Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale described the incident as “deplorable” on Twitter.
The suspect is described by police as a 30 to 40 year old woman, standing approximately 5’5”, with a medium build, approximately 150lbs, long black hair pulled back in a ponytail, wearing a red T-shirt and black pants while carrying a green purse.
Images released by police which were apparently taken at the time of the incident show a suspect angrily gesturing at the camera.
Anyone with information in relation to this incident is asked to call the London Police Service at (519) 661-5670 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).