A 65-year-old Asian woman is speaking exclusively to Eyewitness News after she was viciously attacked in Midtown in a horrific incident that made national headlines.
- Welcome back. It's 6:43. Only on Eyewitness News, we are hearing from the Filipina American woman, who was beaten in Manhattan while her attacker told her, you don't belong here. The suspect already convicted of murdering his mother due in court today. The attack happened outside an apartment building where two doormen were fired for the attack. Nina Pineda spoke exclusively to the survivor and her daughter.
NINA PINEDA: And everybody just wants to know how are you doing?
VILMA KARI: I am doing well, feeling well, getting better each day.
NINA PINEDA: At first, Vilma Kari and her daughter, Liz, didn't even know there was a video of the attack or that its impact would be felt around the world.
LIZ KARI: It took probably half an hour, honestly, of just sobbing and trying to take it in and rewatching the video a few times just to say, that's the way she walks. That's the way she carries herself. That's the outfit.
NINA PINEDA: An American citizen who settled in Chicago, Vilma, widowed in 2012, was staying with her only child in New York City. Her path to noon mass would pass 38-year-old, Brandon Elliot, a homeless parolee convicted of murdering his own mother.
VILMA KARI: It's so surreal watching that incident and looking at myself being attacked.
NINA PINEDA: Witnesses say a bystander screamed from across the street and distracted the attacker.
LIZ KARI: I want to thank that person because if they hadn't, I don't know what else she would have had to sustain.
- Three individuals were in the video, and then one calmly goes up and closes the door.
LIZ KARI: I'm not going to talk about my feelings on that. I feel like to each their own. Karma has a place in this world, and that's not my place. I don't know exactly what happened in their shoes.
NINA PINEDA: But people from all over the globe were angry. Because of the onslaught of their reactions Liz began a GoFundMe page to give updates on her mother's condition and help with her care.
LIZ KARI: People were wanting to help. They were looking for some type of resource to contact my mom. We really have to have each other's backs in this time. Obviously, it's been super difficult in our country, and not just our group of people that are experiencing this type of hatred.
VILMA KARI: I am healing each day and only hope that this incident will continue to bring greater awareness to the racism and hate crimes against the Asian American Pacific Islander community.
NINA PINEDA: And so many people locally and from as far away as Australia and Ireland reached out. The family is taking this moment, as I said, to be louder and no longer silent about hate crime.