SAN JOSE -- After Maria Garate's first swing of the tire iron hit the 4-year-old girl in the head, and her second was thwarted by the girl's father, she broke out into song and posed for the cameras -- the surveillance ones.

The 20-year-old with a history of violence toward her own family raised her arm in an apparent triumphant move, dropped the weapon, then fell to the floor of the Walmart store with her hands behind her back and awaited arrest, according to a police report.

"I wanted to kill the Asian girl because she's a reject," Garate reportedly said to detectives afterward.

Then she told the same detectives that she was "upset with herself" after learning the child, purportedly targeted because of her race, survived.

The strange reaction to the attack was among the details outlined in a police report about the May 13 attack at an East San Jose Walmart that yielded attempted murder, assault with a deadly weapon, and hate-crime charges against Garate, who is being held in jail without bail and scheduled to return to court Friday.

Court records show police had contact with Garate before, including a Feb. 18, 2013, incident where she violated a peaceful-contact order when she tore through her family's home in San Jose in search of a meth pipe. The police report after the Walmart attack also indicates Garate's mother has a restraining order against her for an earlier assault. Garate also has two active drug cases in Santa Clara County.

Police say Garate lived in a van and was estranged from her family, who told authorities after an earlier arrest that she had a history of mental illness, violence and abusing hard drugs. Investigators believe she had eschewed her medication for psychotic and stress disorders and had smoked crystal meth and marijuana before the Walmart episode.

A person familiar with the family who spoke with this newspaper on condition of anonymity said the attack shows the need for Garate to be compelled to take medication and be placed in a controlled environment. But for detectives and prosecutors, Garate's circumstances did not soften their contention that she was clear-minded when she bludgeoned a child over nothing more than her ancestry.

"Even though Garate's mental state was altered, either by drugs or mental disorder, she was able to articulate that she knew she was a committing a crime and pre-planned it," Detective Nathaniel Braxton wrote in the report. "She entered Walmart with the intent of killing a child. She brought a weapon and she chose Walmart because she knew they had video surveillance and she wanted it to be (on) video."

That surveillance footage has not been made public, but the police report describes a cold, steely act on an unsuspecting family who had gone to the Walmart the morning of May 13 to do some routine shopping. The father was standing by a shopping cart with his 4-year-old daughter seated in it, as they waited on his wife, who was browsing jewelry.

Video evidence purportedly shows Garate walking down the aisle with a large purse on her shoulder, smiling and appearing relaxed. As she approaches the child sitting in the cart, she pulled out a lug wrench or tire iron and hit the small girl in the back of the head, according to the police report.

The father then reportedly sprang into action and pushed the cart away to safety as Garate wound up for a second strike, and he took a blow to his forearm. That's when Garate "raises the wrench above her head in a victory pose," discards the wrench and "lays down on the floor with her hands behind her back and surrenders," Braxton wrote.

Police said the child was in and out of consciousness on her way to the hospital, but was alert when briefly questioned by police and is expected to recover.

What followed soon after was a bizarre police interview in which Garate appeared addled, mumbled to herself and freely incriminated herself, according to the police report, saying she targeted the child because Asians "bug me" and that "she was strong enough to kill a kid." The interview ended with her telling detectives that if the child had died, her parents "can have another one and go back to China."

The family she attacked is not Chinese.

Contact Robert Salonga at 408-920-5002. Follow him at Twitter.com/robertsalonga.