QUINCY — A man is being held without bail after he threatened an Asian family Friday morning, allegedly shouting at them to “Go back to China,” then hitting one of them with his car, sending the man into a construction ditch, according to authorities and the victim’s sister.
At his arraignment Friday afternoon, a Quincy District Court judge ordered John Sullivan, 77, of Quincy, to be held pending a dangerousness hearing scheduled for Wednesday.
The victim, 38-year-old George Ngo, suffered multiple injuries and a concussion and is recovering at home, according to his sister, Desiree Thien.
Thien and her three children were leaving the post office on Washington Street with Ngo shortly before 11 a.m. when Sullivan allegedly began shouting racial slurs at the family, she said in a phone interview Sunday afternoon.
“I don’t know any reason why someone would do this,” Thien said. “I just know they must be very miserable and filled with anger and hatred in order to do that to someone they don’t know.”
Sullivan pleaded not guilty at the Friday arraignment to two counts of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, civil rights violation, reckless operation of a motor vehicle, and leaving the scene of a motor vehicle collision causing personal injury, according to court records.
Sullivan’s attorney did not return a message seeking comment Sunday.
Authorities say Sullivan was driving in the area of the post office and exchanged words with pedestrians who said he was driving too fast. Thien said she and her brother did not say anything to Sullivan as he parked his car near the post office, but as he got out of the vehicle, Sullivan allegedly began shouting slurs at them.
Thien said Sullivan told the family to “Go back to China,” and she told him she was calling the police.
“As he exited his car, he said he was going to go in the post office and when he comes back we better be gone or he’s going to kill us all,” Thien said.
The family stood in front of Sullivan’s car and took photos of it after he went inside the post office. The confrontation escalated when he returned a few minutes later and continued shouting slurs at the family as he got back into his car, Thien said.
Sullivan then started the car and accelerated toward her and her brother, she said. Ngo pushed Thien out of the way, she said.
“The car rammed into him and he rolled onto the hood and he clung onto the hood for a good 200 feet,” she said.
Thien said Sullivan abruptly hit the brakes, throwing Ngo from the hood and onto the ground near the intersection with Foster Street. Once Ngo returned to his feet, Sullivan “hit my brother one more time, which sent him flying into the construction ditch,” Thien said.
Workers at the site quickly approached Sullivan’s car and told him to get out and wait for police to arrive, but Sullivan allegedly drove off toward Braintree, Thien said. One worker got into a truck and followed him, she said.
Quincy police broadcasted information about the vehicle to area departments, and a short time later, Braintree police alerted Quincy authorities to a crash involving a vehicle with the same license plate, according to David Traub, a spokesman for the Norfolk district attorney’s office said.
Sullivan was held there until Quincy police arrived and took him into custody, Traub said.
Thien, 41, said her brother will recover.
“He’s a fighter,” she said.
Thien said her family moved from their native Vietnam to Arkansas and then to Quincy in 1986 and have lived there ever since. The family owns a flooring business that has been open for more than 30 years.
She said she’s angry her children — ages 9, 10, and 11 — witnessed the alleged attack.
“As a mom, my protective instincts kicked in,” she said. “I would never want my kids to witness any of that, let alone be a victim of racism. ... I told my kids, if this ever happens you need to take out your phone and take pictures and videos. And if you see this being done to someone else, be a voice and don’t be silenced, don’t be intimidated. We all need to speak up in order to stop hate and racism in America.”
Thien said Sullivan “needs to know there’s no one above the law.”
“He picked on the wrong person that day,” she said.