Woman Strikes 4-Year-Old Girl with Crowbar at San Jose Walmart: Police

A woman was arrested Wednesday after she allegedly attacked a 4-year-old girl and her father with a crowbar at a San Jose Walmart store, police said.

The suspect entered the store on Story Road shortly before 11 a.m., approached a man with his 4-year-old daughter and struck the girl on the head with a crowbar. The girl was also struck a second time in the shoulder.

"She entered the store with the weapon, which makes us believe she was going to attack somebody no matter what," San Jose Police Lt. Jason Dwyer said.

The woman tried to hit the girl again but the father was able to stop her, police said. The father, who only wanted to be referred to as "Tam" in an interview with NBC Bay Area, said he was also struck by the crowbar in the arm while trying to protect his daughter.

Tam said his daughter was in a shopping cart in the optometry department when the woman approached them.

"I just hear 'pop' and then I looked at my daughter. I see my daughter cry," Tam said. "Then I throw my daughter far away."

Tam said he did not know the woman who attacked his daughter. Walmart security detained the woman and held her until police arrived.

Police arrested Maria Garate, an 18-year-old transient from the San Jose area, on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon, police said. Garate will be charged with attempted murder and assault with a deadly weapon at her arraignment on Thursday. Santa Clara County District Attorney's office spokesperson Sean Webby said the charges would include hate-crime allegations.

The girl was treated and released from a hospital. She is now recovering from her injuries at home.

Bay City News Service contributed to this report.

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