SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — A judge on Friday ordered the arrest of a tourist from the U.S. mainland who is accused of attacking a National Guard trooper at Puerto Rico’s airport after refusing to wear a face mask as required under pandemic restrictions.
The suspect was identified as 31-year-old Adrien Williams. He faces charges including assault in the Nov. 28 incident caught on video that went viral.
Brenda Quijano, a spokeswoman for Puerto Rico’s Department of Justice, told The Associated Press that Williams lives in Lake Elsinore, California, but was born in South Carolina. His current whereabouts were not known.
The incident angered many Puerto Ricans who have repeatedly complained about tourists refusing to wear face masks as the U.S. territory faces a record number of coronavirus infections and COVID-19 deaths, burdening an already fragile health system. The island of 3.2 million people has reported more than 51,600 confirmed cases and more than 1,100 deaths.
On Thursday, Gov. Wanda Vázquez announced stricter measures to fight a rise in COVID-19 cases, including the closure of marinas, a lockdown on Sundays and a ban on weekend alcohol sales.