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Irvine assault stemmed from altercation between dogs

Police are seeking a man suspected of assaulting an older man last week at an Irvine school after their dogs were involved in an altercation.

A 69-year-old man was walking his small dog Friday at 7 p.m. at Sierra Vista Middle School when he spotted a much larger husky, which was not wearing a leash and was believed to be with a young man who was kicking a soccer ball, Irvine police said in a statement.

As the husky approached, the older man picked up his dog to avoid a conflict, according to police, but he lost control of his leash, and the two animals began fighting.

As the man tried to separate the dogs, the younger man struck him in the head from behind, police said. The victim was treated for injuries at a hospital.

Police have obtained surveillance footage of the incident and posted it online.

Irvine police said they haven’t identified a motive but were not ruling out “the possibility that this could be a hate crime.”

The victim is Asian, but the suspect made no racial comments during the assault, Sgt. Karie Davies, an Irvine police spokesperson, told the Orange County Register.

“Until we can find [the suspect] and talk to him, we don’t know the motivation,” Davies said.

Irvine police described the suspect as being in his late teens and having a “darker complexion.” He was last seen wearing a dark T-shirt over a white shirt with long sleeves, dark shorts over white leggings or shin guards and a white backpack.

Irvine police asked anyone with information about the incident to contact Det. Gavin Hudson at (949) 724-7168 or ghudson@cityofirvine.org.

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