A New York City man was arrested and charged with a hate crime after he pulled a knife on three Black men and one white man Wednesday night, according to police.
John Borzumato, a 58-year-old white man, approached the group late Wednesday night in a Staten Island neighborhood "unprovoked," the NYPD told NBC News.
The group, made up of two Black men and two minors, one Black and one white, had just parked their car by a fire hydrant after returning from a day at the beach.
Borzumato, who was intoxicated, menaced the group with a knife and yelled racial epithets at them.
"You n------ don't belong here," Borzumato said, according to a criminal complaint. "You n------ have to get out of here."
According to police, Borzumato was pulled away by witnesses and dropped the knife, but continued to have a dispute with one of the men who is also his neighbor, identified by police as 20-year-old Nathaniel Garcia.
Borzumato pushed Garcia, who then punched Borzumato, "causing him to fall to the ground and strike his head," the NYPD said in a statement.
Borzumato, who fell unconscious, was transported to a hospital. He was later charged with menacing as a hate crime in the second degree, menacing in the second degree, criminal possession of a weapon in the fourth degree and harassment in the second degree, according to a criminal complaint. His next court appearance will be Sept. 27.
Borzumato's attorney did not immediately return a request for comment.
Garcia was also arrested and charged with assault in the second and third degrees, as well as harassment, his attorney, Adam Uris, told NBC News.
“It’s our belief that once the court has the opportunity to look at the evidence and interview the witnesses in this case, that they will decide not to prosecute this matter," Uris said. “We’re going to aggressively defend this case until Mr. Garcia is proven innocent.”
Krystle Garcia-Bustamante, Garcia's mother, told NBC News her son was only trying to protect himself and his friends.
"He was yelling at them, calling them the N-word and telling them 'one of you n------ is going to die tonight,'" Garcia-Bustamante, who received a FaceTime call from her son after the ordeal, said. “He hit him one time in order to stop a threat.”
“Her son was acting heroically,” Uris said. "He was acting in the manner consistent with his Marine training. He was defending himself and others at the time when an unhinged man was attacking them with a knife”
Garcia-Bustamante says her family moved to the neighborhood 10 houses down from Borzumato, just after last Christmas. Now, she regrets moving there.
“I feel like I’ve made a tragic mistake and I wish I was back living in the neighborhood I used to live," she said. "I feel deep regret that my son has to go through this."