An elderly Asian American woman attacked and punched by a man on a San Francisco street fought back, leaving him battered, bloodied and hospitalized.
The clash came hours after city police announced increased patrols in Asian neighborhoods following a recent surge of attacks in the city and across the nation, including a shooting rampage in Georgia that left six Asian women and two other people dead.
Xiao Zhen Xie, 75, was "very traumatized, very scared" after the encounter, she told CBS San Francisco with her daughter, Dong-Mei Li, helping to translate. Xiao's face appeared swollen and she could not yet see in one eye, her daughter said.
Xiao said she was waiting at a traffic light when the suspect suddenly punched her in the eye. She picked up a stick and fought back, she said.
Video from the scene, shot after the attack, shows the woman holding the board in one hand and an ice bag in the other. The alleged attacker is seen, his face bloodied, being rolled away on a stretcher.
"You bum, why did you hit me?" the woman said in Chinese.
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Police say the case is being investigated as a possible hate crime. The 39-year-old man accused in this case is also a suspect in another attack on an 83-year-old Asian man in the same area earlier Wednesday.
Dennis O'Donnell said he happened upon the scene during his morning run.
"There was a guy on a stretcher and a frustrated angry woman with a stick in her hand," O'Donnell, KPIX 5's sports director, told the station. "From what I could see, she wanted more of the guy on the stretcher and the police were holding her back."
Just came upon an attack on an elderly Asian woman on Market Street San Francisco. Effort I got more details pic.twitter.com/5o8r0eeHE2
— Dennis O'Donnell (@DennisKPIX) March 17, 2021
Earlier Wednesday, Police Chief William Scott expressed condolences to the families and loved ones of the victims of the Georgia attacks. The suspect in that case, Robert Aaron Long, 21, has been charged with eight counts of murder.
San Francisco police also announced the arrests of three men in connection with a brazen attack on a 67-year-old man inside a laundromat in Chinatown last month. Scott pledged to do everything in his power to keep city resident safe.
"As you may know, the San Francisco Bay Area has been seeing an alarming spike in brazen anti-Asian violence in recent weeks," Scott said in a statement. "We are coordinating with our federal partners and local (Asian American) community organizations. ... Working together, we must prevent violence and hold perpetrators accountable."
What to do if you are a witness to anti-Asian racism
If you see anti-Asian racism, Stop AAPI Hate, a group that tracks acts of discrimination and xenophobia against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, recommends these five safety steps:
Take action. Go to the targeted person and offer support.
Actively listen. Before you do anything, ask – and then respect the targeted person's response. If need be, keep an eye on the situation.
Ignore attacker. Try using your voice, body language or distractions to de-escalate the situation (though use your judgment).
Accompany. Ask the targeted person to leave with you if whatever is going on escalates.
Offer emotional support. Find out how the targeted person is feeling and help them determine what to do next.
There's been a rise in anti-Asian attacks. Here's how to be an ally to the community.
Contributing: David Oliver, USA TODAY; The Associated Press
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Asian American attacks: Elderly woman beats attacker in San Francisco