SANTA ANA, Calif. – A 26-year-old man who punched an elderly Asian couple in the face while they took a walk in a park in Orange has been charged with multiple hate crimes in connection with the unprovoked attack on Sunday. The man is also being investigated in connection with a verbal attack on an Asian woman in the same park earlier this month.
Michael Orlando Vivona, 26, of Orange, has been charged with two felony counts of elder abuse, two felony counts of battery – hate crime causing injury, and two felony hate crime enhancements. He faces a maximum sentence of nine years in state prison if convicted on all counts.
Vivona is currently being held at the Theo Lacy Facility in Orange on $65,000 bail.
On Sunday, April 18, around 7:40 p.m. a 78- and 79-year-old Korean couple were taking their nightly walk at Grijalva Park in Orange when Vivona is accused of running up to them and punching the husband in the face, causing him to fall. As the couple attempted to find help, Vivona is accused of punching the wife in the head, causing her to fall.
Bystanders intervened and Vivona was arrested by the Orange Police Department. Vivona later made statements to police disparaging Asians.
Vivona is also being investigated in connection with an incident involving Japanese-American USA Olympic karate athlete Sakura Kokumai at the same park on April 1, 2021.
“I have made the prosecution of hate crimes a centerpiece of my administration and I am sending a strong message to Orange County – there will be no hate here,” said Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer. “If you engage in hate-motivated crimes, you will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. My prosecutors have and will continue to aggressively prosecute haters who target Asians as well as anyone who is the victim of a hate crime whether it is as a result of race, religion, sexual orientation or any other protected class.”
Deputy District Attorney Jake Jondle of Special Prosecutions is prosecuting this case.