HOOD RIVER, Ore. -- A Buddhist monk was attacked in Hood River, in what police believe was a possible hate crime.
Kozen Sampson said he was dressed in his traditional brown robe when the attacker approached him. He said the stranger suddenly yelled and kicked his car door into him, hitting him in the head.
"I turned around and the door got kicked and hit the side of my face and then my head hit this section right here," Sampson said as he pointed to his car door frame.
He got a bleeding gash that's been healing since last week. Sampson won't forget the words he heard before the man walked off.
"He said 'f-bomb Muslims' and so I'm going to assume he was angry at Muslims for some reason. Apparently I looked like a Muslim," said Sampson.
Sampson described the suspect as a white man with brown hair. Police are investigating, but do not have any suspects at this time.
The attack occurred near the intersection of 12th Street and Eugene Avenue in Hood River on Feb. 29. Investigators said Sampson, from Trout Lake, Wash., was visiting the area to do obedience training with his dogs.
Sampson suffered injuries to his face, but was recovering from the attack.
According to the OLCC, Hood River has the most liquor licenses per capita of any city in Oregon, and police say fights with racial slurs are common, but not unprovoked ones during the day.
"The extent that Mr. Sampson was attacked is a little more rare than what we usually see," said Hood River Police Sgt. Don Cheli.
Also a registered nurse, Sampson is well known and loved in Hood River. He volunteers weekly at Providence Hospice of the Gorge counseling families, and works at his Buddhist zen retreat center where he lives in Trout Lake, Washington, just north of Hood River.
He's gotten support messages from as far as Japan and Vietnam, and calls from local ministers. Sampson wants this to be a lesson to let go of our prejudice.
"So all I really have for him (the suspect) is you're completely forgiven. I hope you find peace and I hope you find a way to deal with this internal stuff so we don't have to hurt anyone."
Police are hoping the public may have information that can help them on this case. Anyone with tips is encouraged to call Detective Rivera, with the Hood River Police Department, at (541)387-5257.