A Metropolitan Transit System trolley. Photo courtesy MTS

Assault charges were filed Monday against a suspect accused in two separate San Diego attacks, including an incident where he allegedly punched a man from Afghanistan and told that man’s family to “go back to where you came from.”

Prosecutors are continuing to investigate whether hate crime allegations might be filed against Robert Compton, 48, who is accused of hitting the 41-year-old patriarch on Feb. 26 while aboard the San Diego Trolley as it passed through the Grantville area.

San Diego Police public-affairs Lt. Shawn Takeuchi said the family had recently moved to San Diego from Afghanistan and was getting a tour of the city “from a Catholic charity that was helping them with their transition” when Compton approached them.

During the hostile encounter, Compton allegedly threatened to kill the victims, told them to “go back to where you came from,” said he hated them and struck the father, leaving him with facial fractures, Takeuchi said.

The suspect then allegedly got off the trolley and fled, then committed a second local attack on Feb. 28. Details on that alleged attack were not available, but Takeuchi said the Feb. 28 incident “is not believed to be hate-motivated.”

Compton was arrested Friday at 800 Market Street, according to SDPD.

He pleaded not guilty to all counts Monday afternoon. Bail was raised to $100,000 at Monday’s arraignment due to what Assistant District Attorney Ian Fels described as a lengthy criminal history.

The prosecutor declined to comment on why hate crime allegations were not immediately filed against Compton, who is due back in court March 18 for a readiness conference.

— City News Service

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Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.