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Austin Police recommend hate crime charge in stabbing of Palestinian American

Three people wearing Palestinian keffiyehs. The man at left is gesticulating as he talks into a microphone. The woman at right holds a tissue to her nose.
Julius Shieh
KUT News
Nizar and Odilia Doar, parents of stabbing victim Zacharia Doar, call for the suspect to be charged with a hate crime, outside Austin City Hall on Tuesday. In the center is Hatem Natsheh, a member of the Austin for Palestine Coalition.

Austin Police are recommending that a stabbing near UT campus Sunday be prosecuted as a hate crime.

The department’s hate crimes review committee looked at the case and determined it met the definition of a hate crime. The information has been provided to the Travis County District Attorney’s office, police officials said. It is up to the DA to decide how to move forward.

Zacharia Doar, 23, and three friends had just left a Gaza cease-fire rally Sunday when they were attacked by a man near the intersection of Nueces and West 26th streets. The group said the man screamed obscenities at them before stabbing Doar, who is Palestinian American, in the chest.

The suspect was identified by police as Bert James Baker, 36. He was taken to the Travis County Jail and charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.

Doar’s family and members of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, or CAIR, on Tuesday called on police and prosecutors to charge Baker with a hate crime. They said the attack is part of a surge in anti-Arab and anti-Muslim incidents in the U.S. since the Oct. 7 Hamas attack on Israel.

"This hate that is going around needs to stop," Nizar Doar, Zacharia’s father, said during Tuesday's news conference.

The Travis County DA's Office told KUT “it does not tolerate acts of hate in our community and is committed to holding people who commit these crimes accountable.”

Luz Moreno-Lozano is the Austin City Hall reporter at KUT. Got a tip? Email her at Follow her on X @LuzMorenoLozano.
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