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2 sentenced for attacking people at Turkish restaurant in LA

March 8, 2022 GMT

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Two Armenian American men who attacked people at a Turkish restaurant in Beverly Hills were sentenced Monday to federal prison.

William Stepanyan, 23, of Glendale, was given a five-year sentence, and Harutyun Harry Chalikyan, 24, of Los Angeles Tujunga was sentenced to 15 months in prison. They were also ordered to pay a total of $21,200 in restitution.

They pleaded guilty last year to conspiracy and committing a hate crime.

The men, who are acquaintances, stormed into family-owned Turkish restaurant on Nov. 20, 2020, and attacked five people, including four who are of Turkish descent. They hurled wooden chairs at the victims, overturned tables and smashed glassware, prosecutors said.

The attackers shouted derogatory slurs about Turkish people, yelled, “We came to kill you,” and caused $20,000 in damage, prosecutors said.

The attack occurred amid local protests during a war between Armenia and its Turkish-backed neighboring country, Azerbaijan, over the separatist Nagorno-Karabakh region.

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“The victims in this case were brutally attacked by the defendants, who trampled their civil rights and likely caused lasting psychological pain for nothing more than the perception of where they were born,” Kristi Johnson, assistant director in charge of the FBI’s Los Angeles field office, said in a statement.