Lena Hernandez of Long Beach, California, was identified as the woman seen in a series of viral videos featuring racist, anti-Asian tirades, Torrance police said Friday. The 56-year-old yelled at people in different incidents at Charles H. Wilson Park in Torrance, with the videos surfacing on Wednesday and Thursday. One man told ABC7 that the woman told him to "go home" and referred to him as "Chinaman."
The first incident showed Hernandez yelling at a young woman who was exercising at Wilson Park. In the second, she is seen yelling at an Asian man in his car with two children nearby. Police said they are also investigating an incident from October 2019 at the Del Amo Fashion Center involving Hernandez, reports The Los Angeles Times. Torrance Mayor Patrick Furey called the videos "nauseating to absolutely anybody in our community."
This happened to a friend of my cousin this morning in Torrance, CA at Wilson Park. Can we please find this racist old white lady because this is beyond disgusting pic.twitter.com/lExI4dKB6T— Myles Clark (@myullz) June 10, 2020
Torrance Police Chief Eve Berg asked for the public's help in finding Hernandez. They are also exploring the possibility that mental illness had a part in the incidents, reports ABC7. It is unknown what charges Hernandez could face, but the cases will be presented to the Torrance prosecutor.
The woman in the first video, who identified herself as Sherry told the Los Angeles Times she was just working out when she bumped into Hernandez. Sherry said Hernandez threatened her, then told her to "get... out of this world, get... out of this state and go back to whatever... Asian country you belong." Police filed a crime report after the victim in the video was identified and were working on the case when they learned about the second video, which was filmed on the same day.
In that second video, Hernandez confronted an unidentified Asian man near his car with his children present. The man told ABC7 that Hernandez told him she is "not a racist person, but you know what? You need to go home." She told him, "This is my country and this is from my government: Go home. Put that on your Facebook. You know what, you are nothing."
Our friend and attorney just sent us this video of a very racist and extremely disturbed old lady going off on him while his kids are in the car.... pic.twitter.com/DvkE7oKL5s— brendon mcnerney (@brendonmcnerney) June 11, 2020
Hernandez was likely connected to a third incident back in October 2019 at the Del Amo Fashion Center, Berg said. She allegedly verbally assaulted a custodian and also responsible for "physically assaulting another individual who was acting as a good Samaritan when they attempted to intervene." Berg said police believe "that the suspect is responsible for all three of these incidents. That victim too has been contacted by detectives in regard to this manner."
During Friday's press conference, Berg dismissed criticisms that her department was not moving fast enough on the case. She said they "didn't want to compromise the integrity" of the investigation. "We wanted to make sure we had positive identification from all the victims with this suspect," she said.