The suspect was booked on two counts of assault and two counts of elder abuse, according to a statement by the San Francisco Police Department
Following a disturbing trend of racism and violence toward Asian Americans, such as the racially-motivated shooting in Atlanta, a man has been arrested after allegedly assaulting two elderly people in San Francisco, notably a 75-year-old Asian-American woman who fought back, police say. The assault came as a rise in attacks against Asian-Americans has been reported across the county.
ABC7 San Francisco says Steven Jenkins, 39, was booked on two counts of assault likely to produce great bodily injury, and two counts of elder abuse, the San Francisco Police Department said in a statement. Jenkins is charged with attacking an 83-year-old Asian man on Wednesday morning in the Tenderloin District before being pursued by a security guard on foot.
“As Jenkins was fleeing, he assaulted the female victim,” police told the public. “The security guard was able to detain Jenkins until officers arrived.” Both attacks are thought to have been unprovoked, investigators claimed, adding that they are working to establish if the victims’ racial identity was a motive.
News video from the scene revealed Jenkins bleeding and handcuffed to a gurney before he was put in an ambulance and transferred to a hospital. The female victim, later identified as Xiao Zhen Xie, held an ice pack to her head and a wooden stick or bat in her hand.
Xie told San Francisco station KPIX she had been standing against a utility pole when the perpetrator allegedly hit her – without warning or provocation.
Witnesses told KPIX 5 they saw the woman striking the attacker. In the video taken at the scene, the sobbing victim appears to berate the man and wave what looks to be a wooden board at him as he’s being taken away.
KPIX reported that the woman repeatedly said in Chinese, “You bum, why did you hit me?” and then turned to the crowd and said, “This bum, he hit me.”
Xiao Zhen Xie spoke to KPIX5 with her daughter Dong-Mei Li, helping to translate.
“Very traumatized, very scared and this eye is still bleeding,” she told the outlet. “The right eye still cannot see anything and (is) still bleeding and we have something to absorb the bleeding.”
Xiao Zhen Xie’s grandson has set up a GoFundMe page to help pay for her mounting medical bills.
“I am amazed by her bravery,” John Chen noted on the page. “She was the one that defended herself from this unprovoked attack.” Chen said his grandmother has two black eyes, one of which continues to bleed, and a swollen wrist.
“She has been severely affected mentally, physically, and emotionally,” he wrote. “She also stated that she is afraid to step out of her home from now on. This traumatic event has left her with PTSD.”
Chen stated his grandmother is a cancer survivor and has diabetes. “My heart is with all the other elderly Asians that has also been seriously injured or killed in this wave of attacks towards the Asian community,” he wrote.