Arizona Woman's Slap Stops Racist Tirade at Gas Station

The husband of the woman who made the racist comments has apologized on her behalf and said she suffers from an undiagnosed mental illness

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An Arizona woman seen on video slapping another woman who went on a racist tirade and grabbed her said she reacted "correctly."

In an interview with Telemundo Arizona, Karina Rodríguez said the racist comments by Tamara Harrian left her in tears.

"It hurt my heart a lot. When I left, I cried a lot. It brings me a lot of sadness that this happens," Rodríguez said.

The incident occurred Saturday at Phoenix's Shell Superpumper gas station at 704 E Greenway Parkway. Rodríguez was with her husband inside the gas station's store when Harrian entered to complain about a pump not working, according to witness Greg Conn.

Conn said Harrian demanded to be assisted and claimed to be the manager of the gas station. She told clerks not to serve Rodríguez, who was waiting to be helped. Video shows the verbal confrontation escalated to the point that Harrian told Rodríguez, who was born in the United States, to "go back to your country."

The dispute continued and when Rodríguez gestured a dismissive motion with her hand in front of Harrian's face, Harrian got closer and put her finger in front of Rodríguez's face.

When Rodríguez turned and began walking away, Harrian grabbed Rodríguez by the arm, video shows. Rodríguez then slapped Harrian in the face.

"Looking at the tape, I think I did everything correctly," Rodríguez said.

Conn told NBC affiliate KPNX that the incident was "so blatant, so in-your-face racism."

In a statement, Superpumper told Telemundo Arizona that Harrian has never been associated with the franchise and is banned from visiting its stores.

"The racist woman in this video is not and has never been a manager, employee or owner of Superpumper. She has been prohibited from entering any of our stores," the statement reads.

Harrian works at a law office. Her husband, lawyer Bob Harrian, told KPNX that his wife suffers from an undiagnosed mental illness. He apologized for her actions.

"Horrible things were said. A lot of those horrible things came from my wife," Bob Harrian said.

Bob Harrian said he had not involuntarily committed his wife because she was not a danger to herself and she does not believe anything is wrong with her.

"This is your spouse you have known and loved for 30 years and she is starting to slip away, and you are trying to get her help but you can’t get her help because she doesn’t think there is anything wrong with her," Bob Harrian said of his wife.

Rodríguez credits ongoing racial tension in the United States to anti-immigrant political agendas.

"I don't know but nowadays people are feeling more empowered by the words of Donald Trump, and they're feeling like they can go out on the streets and abuse us," Rodríguez said.

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