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Suspect accused of attack on Burien Mayor surrenders to police

Burien Mayor Jimmy Matta on election night 2017, when he first was elected to the Burien City Council.
KUOW Photo/Liz Jones
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Burien Mayor Jimmy Matta on election night 2017, when he first was elected to the Burien City Council.

The suspect, who police say perpetrated a racial attack on Burien Mayor Jimmy Matta, has turned himself in.

The 62-year-old could be charged with malicous harrasment, better known as a hate crime.

Matta said he was grabbed by the neck from behind and pushed to the ground and left bleeding Saturday while attending the Old Burien Block Party. 

Burien Police Chief Ted Boe said detectives are working to identify the suspect and determine if the crime qualifies as malicious harassment under the state’s hate crime statute.

Matta said he's familiar with the suspect, who’s engaged him in the past.

He said the alleged suspect has previously objected to Burien’s status as a sanctuary city for immigrants, an issue hotly contested during the last election. Last year Matta was elected as the first Latino mayor in the city’s 25-year history.

At a press conference Monday, Matta stood with his two children by his side. Matta said that the securtiy he felt prior to the attack has been compromised. 

“More than anything I was concerned because after he left I was wondering if he was going to come back with a gun,” Matta said. "Right after it happend, I went and spoke to my family — to make sure that they keep an eye out."

Chief Boe said at this point Matta has not requested additional protection.