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Local man accused of hate crime

Prosecutors say assault-with-adeadly-weapon charge would be man's third strike.

April 18, 2007|By Amanda Pennington

A Costa Mesa man is scheduled to be arraigned May 4 on one felony count of assault with a deadly weapon and one misdemeanor count of resisting a police officer. Anthony Tabarsi, a registered sex offender, is accused of pulling a knife on a man after shouting racial slurs at him Monday. Prosecutors enhanced the assault charge as a hate crime.

Police used a Taser to subdue Tabarsi, 41, around 8:30 p.m. Monday after he reportedly challenged a man to a fight at the Starbucks in the 2700 block of Harbor Boulevard, Sgt. Marty Carver said.

The Orange County district attorney's office alleges that the felony charge is Tabarsi's third strike, with previous strikes stemming from 1998 convictions for rape, penetration by foreign object and child molestation, according to officials. If convicted, he could be sent to prison for life.

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At the coffee bar, Tabarsi, 41, reportedly made fun of a man who was speaking with friends in Arabic, according to the district attorney's office. Tabarsi reportedly used racial epithets and made fun of the language, officials said.

Tabarsi told the man that he thought all Arab people are terrorists and used expletives to say that he hates Arab people, according to prosecutors.

The man who was with friends reportedly accepted the challenge to fight and followed Tabarsi outside. Tabarsi then pulled out a pocket knife with a 2 1/2 -inch blade and slashed it at him once they were outside, Carver said.

Friends held the man back, and Tabarsi fled southbound on Harbor Boulevard, Carver said. No one was injured.

Costa Mesa police found Tabarsi at a bus stop south of the coffee bar. Tabarsi defied police orders, not taking his hands out of his pockets as he walked into traffic on Harbor Boulevard toward officers, Carver said. An officer used her Taser on Tabarsi. He fell to the ground and was taken into custody.

Police took him to Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian to clear him for booking.

In court, Tabarsi will be represented by a public defender. His bail was set Tuesday at $1 million.

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