Campbell's openly gay, Asian-American vice mayor said on Monday he was verbally assaulted by a woman this weekend on his way to a community festival for his race and for his sexual orientation.
Evan Low told NBC Bay Area that a woman came up to him on Saturday about 3 p.m. as he was heading toward the annual Oktoberfest festivities on Campbell Avenue.
"She pointed her finger at me in the shape of a gun and said, "Bang (expletive), die. Go back to China, you will die," Low said. The expletive was a derogatory word for a gay man.
Low said the loud hatred lasted five minutes.
"I thought it was a joke because it was so random that this woman was screaming at the top of her lungs," Low said in a phone interview. "It was so strange and out of the blue, but after a while I came to find out it was not a joke."
Campbell Police Capt. Dave Carmichael said police have identified a suspect, but no one has been arrested. It's a misdemeanor to use words in public to provoke violence.
"It's unfortunate that people would choose to behave in that way," Carmichael said.
Low is especially keen on hate crime issues, and it pains him that people still act this way. Low has been profiled by several media outlets about his youth - he became mayor at age 26, and because he was also Campbell's first Chinese-American, openly gay city councilman, mayor and now vice mayor. During the day, he works for state Assemblyman Paul Fong.
He has worked hard to educate people about hate crimes and to combat this type of prejudice. Still, these types of verbal attacks do take place, even in the liberal Bay Area.
"We need to acknowledge that this happens and we all need to have respect for humanity," Low said.
Still, this unpleasant incident did have a silver lining. Lots of people stood by Low when they saw what happened.
"Without even knowing I was (vice) mayor, several bystanders came to my defense, jeering back at her, telling her to stop and one person even spit on her car," Low said.