An Uptown man stalked, battered, and hurled anti-Islamic slurs at two Muslims as they walked in the neighborhood over the weekend, prosecutors said.
Alexander Surovietz, 27, is charged with felony hate crime and misdemeanor battery. Judge Mary Marubio set bail at $2,000 on Tuesday and ordered him to stay away from the alleged victim and a witness.
A 45-year-old man of Egyptian descent and a companion stepped out for a short walk at 12:05 a.m. Sunday after breaking fast while observing Ramadan, prosecutor James Murphy said. Surovietz yelled at the pair as they walked on the opposite side of the street near the 4900 block of North Sheridan, according to Murphy. The victim and the witness both told police they had never seen Surovietz before.
Surovietz reportedly crossed to their side of the street, walked in front of them, and stared at them from the mouth of an alley near the intersection of Ainslie and Kenmore.
When the victim and his companion asked Surovietz if he needed help, Surovietz allegedly told them they were responsible for the 9/11 terrorist attacks, yelled slurs, accused them of being terrorists, told the primary victim to go back to Saudi Arabia, and accused the pair of being members of ISIS, Murphy said.
The victim, who has lived in the U.S. for six years, continued walking with the witness until they noticed Surovietz hiding in some bushes ahead of them. Surovietz again hurled a series of slurs and anti-Muslim statements, according to Murphy.
Surovietz reappeared as the pair walked on the 4700 block of North Sheridan a few minutes later. He ran directly toward them, called them Muslim terrorists, and grabbed the victim by his shirt with both hands, the prosecutor said. Surovietz allegedly pushed the victim into a fence and tried to force him to the ground as he continued to utter racist and religious slurs.
The victim gained control of Surovietz and held him until police arrived.
Surovietz waived his right to remain silent and told police that he had been drinking and smoking marijuana before the incident, according to Murphy. He also allegedly claimed to be the victim in the incident, alleging that he called the victim a “sand n*gger” after the man struck him with his elbow.
Kevin McCubbin, Surovietz’s attorney, said he has no criminal background and he worked as a banquet server at McCormick Place until the COVID-19 outbreak began.