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Bahamian’S Face Slashed In Florida Restaurant Attack

Harold Williams pictured after his attack.

Harold Williams pictured after his attack.

By KHRISNA RUSSELL

Deputy Chief Reporter

krussell@tribunemedia.net

A BAHAMIAN man has said he is thankful to be alive after he was slashed in his face during a knife attack at a restaurant in Pembroke Pines, Florida, on Saturday.

Harold Williams, a Bahamasair manager, went into the Pines Market restaurant at 9610 Pines Boulevard on Saturday to use the restroom and was attacked as he walked to the rear of the business. He has described it as an unprovoked attack which left him with a large slash on the side of his face and one of his eyes swollen shut.

Mr Williams was not in the US on official airline business, Bahamasair chairman Tommy Turnquest said yesterday.

A Pembroke Pines Police Department official confirmed to The Tribune yesterday that the alleged attacker is Fawaz Hassan, a 24-year-old employee of Pines Market. He was taken into custody following the incident.

Mr Williams told 7News Miami he was in Florida to pick up medication and was running errands on Saturday when he stopped at the sandwich shop to use the restroom. He said a man behind the counter said he could use the restroom there. As he was walking to the restroom, the assailant attacked him, he said.  

“I just don’t understand why they attacked me,” he said, telling 7News he is grateful to be alive.

“As I approached him, I felt this knock on the side of my face. I thought he punched me,” he said. “It wasn’t until I looked down, and I saw him holding a kitchen knife, eight or 10 inches long, and then the blood started gushing everywhere, and I realised I was stabbed.”

According to 7 News, Mr Williams said the man who stabbed him didn’t say a word.

“I tried to get out of there, because he looked like he was coming to stab me again,” he said, “and the other guy who was with him, he just opened the door and said to me, ‘Never come back here again.’”

Mr Williams told the news station that a US doctor said he may need surgery to repair the muscle in his jaw.

Pembroke Pines police took Mr Hassan into custody and charged him with aggravated battery.

“The victim entered into Pines Market - 9610 Pines Boulevard - to use the restroom,” a police official said. “As the victim walked towards the rear of the business, the suspect struck him in the cheek with a knife.

“The suspect, 24-year-old Fawaz Hassan is an employee of the business, and stated that he was defending himself.

“Our investigation did not reveal that the victim was armed, or presented any threat to the suspect. The suspect was subsequently taken into custody.

“I have no information regarding this incident being related to a hate crime, but I am aware of an assault which occurred in our city on Saturday,” the official also said.

Some speculated on social media that the incident was a hate crime, however another US police official told this newspaper for the case to be considered as such the perpetrator would have had to have shouted racial slurs in the presence of a witness.

Still, the attack triggered calls for the government to issue a statement stating its position on incidents of this kind.

However, when Foreign Affairs Minister Darren Henfield was asked about the situation at an event yesterday, he said he did not know about it and declined comment.

The incident follows a harsh “Level Two: Exercise Increased Caution” alert by the US warning its citizens about crime levels in the Bahamas.

It warned US citizens that violent crime such as burglaries, armed robberies, and sexual assault were common in tourist areas in New Providence. The alert noted the vast majority of crimes occurred in the capital and Grand Bahama, but added the Family Islands were not crime-free.

As in previous crime warnings, the alert also prohibited US government personnel from visiting the Sand Trap area in Nassau due to crime and criticised activities involving commercial recreational watercraft, including water tours, stating that they were not consistently regulated.

Former Foreign Affairs and Immigration Minister Fred Mitchell issued a statement and seemed to suggest there needed to be a crime warning issued from the Bahamas to Bahamians in the US.

He said: “The PLP is deeply concerned about reports of an unprovoked stabbing and serious wounds to Harold Williams, a manager of Bahamasair, on Saturday, 16 March 2019. It appears that this may be a hate crime. The matter is being investigated.

“The government of the Bahamas must say what the position is on this matter and if indeed it is so classified as a hate crime. This issue bears some greater importance given the constant attacks on public safety matters by US officials about the Bahamas.”

For his part, Mr Turnquest said the incident was “most unfortunate,” adding he spoke to Mr Williams on Sunday, following the attack.

This newspaper could not reach Mr Williams yesterday, but a relative told The Tribune the family wanted privacy at this time.

Comments

tell_it_like_it_is 1 month ago

Yeah thanks to Trump, hate crimes are becoming more and more prevalent in the US.
Trump isn't the cause, but he certainly emboldened these idiots to think that it's okay.
The US never condemns things in their country unless it's from a foreigner with some times to ISIS or something.

...And don't get me started on white nationalist.... after Trump called them "very fine people"... these people are truly getting out of hand. The person who just killed all of those worshipers in New Zealand (including a 3 yr old) said he was an avid Trump supporter.
I'm telling you this garbage is escalating...Bahamians watch ya back!

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realfreethinker 1 month ago

Please correct your post. He was not a supporter of Trump. He mentioned Trump in his manifesto but he is anti trump.

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tell_it_like_it_is 1 month ago

But I guess you are! ROFL.
Direct quote from CNN...about the shooter "praised Trump as "a symbol of renewed white identity and common purpose.""
I guess I was wrong for not realizing someone who praises Trump is actually against him.

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Gotoutintime 1 month ago

Really----I always believe what I read on CNN---What a basis station!!

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ThisIsOurs 1 month ago

You're both correct. He praised Trump as a symbol of white identity but went on to say that he was horrible as a leader.

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ashley14 1 month ago

I’m sorry it happened. There is a lot of violence in the US,I don’t think it’s Trump’s fault.

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joeblow 1 month ago

... but everything negative is Trumps fault including upcoming ISIS attacks and future hurricanes!

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ThisIsOurs 1 month ago

Its not Trump. Trump has given them freedom to say publicly what theyve been saying behind closed doors. I think what Trump has uncovered is that 37% of the US has rascist tendencies ...at least thats my take away

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gbgal 1 month ago

Horrible! So sorry for Harold who is the consummate gentleman at all times. I hope our govt takes action and Harold brings lawsuit against the restaurant and perpertrator! Best wishes.

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mandela 1 month ago

The restaurant name and exact location should be clearly posted in all of our news papers and mentioned on all of our radio stations so that none of our citizens patronize this establishment to avoid anymore of our citizens becoming victims of this hate crime, the assailant new he was from out of town because he heard him speak when asking to use the restroom so this place is dangerous for Bahamains

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ThisIsOurs 1 month ago

Ironic. When I heard about the incident I immediately thought about the Green Book. The movie about a book that told Black people places where they could safely dine and sleep. Amazing that in 2019 there's even the iota of a a thought for the need for something like that

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geostorm 1 month ago

So sorry to hear about this. I hope that you recover soon. Please be sure to take action against this establishment! May they never be in business again.

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joeblow 1 month ago

the business did him no wrong, ONE individual IN the business did. Huge difference!

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DDK 1 month ago

How terrible! Welcome to the "land of the free"! So, hate crimes have to be vocal in the U.S. of A.? How insane! Hope the b------ is jailed. Best wishes to Mr. Williams for a full recovery. Time to raise the threat level of travel safety for Bahamians to the "big" country.

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DDK 1 month ago

"However, when Foreign Affairs Minister Darren Henfield was asked about the situation at an event yesterday, he said he did not know about it and declined comment." How politically incorrect, Mr. Minister.

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licks2 1 month ago

The attacker said that he was defending himself. . .the victim said that he was attacked for nothing! Now I know that my people can be "biggity" and think nobody can tell them what to do!

My people "never do nothing" when they find themself in a jamb. . .get they azz beat for doing something dumb and stupid. . ."I een do nuthin". . .yall know what I mean!

Further, the name of the assailant sound "Arab" . . . who usually don't have a hate case against Bahamians for being Bahamians. . .now an American or European. . .that's another story!

Reading through the story suggests "look closely" the devil is in the hidden details. Just think. . .the attacker would put his business on the line for "nothing"? Something een meeting the smell test here. . .so I ger wait and see what other information coming out of this case!

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Gotoutintime 1 month ago

True---There are always two sides to something like this!

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John 1 month ago

Licks2 obviously you are unaware of the bad blood that exist between American Blacks and the Parkistanians and The people from India. Maybe because they operate or work in businesses in the low income Black communities, they see every Black man as a threat or troublesome. And obviously something was going on in this neighborhood and these particular people and that’s why after stabbing the victim he told him to ‘go and don’t come back.’ The Us is a very segregated place, everyone stay to their selves, the Cubans, the Haitians the Middle Easterners. And to be honest as a black person visiting one would be safer going into a McDonalds, Wendy’s or Burger King than going around these people who may be at war with local blacks and look at you as one of them. When the Cubans moved into Miami, the white people sold their businesses to them and moved North. And most Blacks who could afford to also had to move because Cubans don’t hire Blacks.

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SP 1 month ago

Oh, sweet Jesus, no travel warnings for Bahamians traveling to the U.S.? Why not?

Had this happened to an American at the fish fry or anywhere else in the Bahamas, the state department would have issued category 5 travel warnings, circled NP with coast guard, dispatched any number of Blackhawk spy choppers and enlisted every boy & girl scout in foreign services!

Fortunately, the reality is, nobody listens to the state departments bull-shyt, and the ongoing millions of U.S. visitors to Mexico despite the 1000's of murders, kidnappings, and people that just vanish, many of which are U.S. citizens is the proof.

So for the case to be considered a hate crime the perpetrator would have had to have "shouted racial slurs in the presence of a witness"? Would he also have to be standing on his left leg only and jumping no higher than 3/4" off the floor too to qualify? What if the perpetrator "shouted racial slurs" but no one was around to hear it?

Who the hell writes these asinine laws for them, Dumbass Ingraham and Dumbestass Christie?

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sheeprunner12 1 month ago

Do you think this was the first Bahamian attacked in the USA??? ........... During the days of the Project, Bahamians were lynched.

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