BAL HARBOUR, Fla. – Daniel Starikov surrendered to police Wednesday after he was accused of an anti-Semitic attack that detectives in the village of Bal Harbour investigated as a hate crime.
Bal Harbour Mayor Gabriel Groisman took notice of the March 22 attack, saying Starikov was accused of physically and verbally assaulting two orthodox Jewish couples who were walking home from Shabbat dinner.
"This arrest happened as a result of the police department's implementation of new procedures," Groisman wrote on Facebook about a December 2017 ordinance giving officers discretionary power to adopt the State Department's 2010 definition of anti-Semitism as a hate crime.
Without provocation, Starikov jogged towards them on Collins Avenue near 96th Street, clenched his fists and banged them together while shouting obscenities and then spit at them, according to the arrest report. The victims told officers his saliva struck the faces of the two men who were wearing yarmulkes.
Fearing for their safety, the group told police officers they fled to the Majestic Condominium at 9601 Collins Ave.
Groisman said Bal Harbour police officers worked with the Sunny Isles Beach Police Department to identify Starikov, who has a pending case for battery on a law enforcement officer in Miami-Dade County.
Starikov, who is from Ukraine, lives in Hollywood, according to the arrest report. His mother, Valery Starikov, said her 33-year-old son is not an an anti-Semite. She believes his behavior is the result of his struggles with addiction.
"We are saddened people were hurt," his mother said Wednesday night. "He is seeking help for his alcohol-related issues."
Miami-Dade County court records show Starikov faces one count of assault on a person who is 65 years old or older and three counts of assault with prejudice of religion.
At the time of his arrest, Starikov was out on felony bond for a charge of battery on a law enforcement officer.
A private attorney who is representing him in that case helped arrange his surrender.
"There's definitely some alcoholism-related issues going on. I can tell you he comes from a very nice family here," defense attorney Aubrey Webb said. "They are not anti-Semitic. They are saddened, they are outraged by what happened to these people and the allegation, and they just want help for Mr. Starikov."