Hundreds gather to condemn fatal stabbing of good Samaritan

Anger and sadness and grief and disbelief filled the air as the group came together to condemn the murder of 46-year-old Yong Zheng -- who is now a hero in his community.

Video Transcript

- The NYPD's Hate Crime Unit is now investigating yet another vicious and unprovoked attack on an Asian-American in New York City. The attack happened Tuesday night on the Lower East Side. A 56-year-old man was walking into the F subway station on East Broadway when a man suddenly started punching him and then knocked him to the ground. The victim was-- hit his head on the sidewalk and was repeatedly struck in the face. The attacker then escaped in the subway station. The victim suffered non-life threatening head injuries.

- And because of attacks like that one, a vigil this afternoon. Hundreds rally against the disturbing rise of attacks on Asian-Americans in New York and around the country.

- At today's gathering, a day after an arrest for a deadly stabbing of a good Samaritan who was Asian who saw another Asian man getting beaten up and robbed in Sunset Park Brooklyn.

- A good Samaritan who gave his life trying to stop a crime. A second good Samaritan was injured. With the latest, here's Eyewitness News reporter, NJ Burkett.

NJ BURKETT: Anger and sadness, grief and disbelief as hundreds come together to condemn the murder of 46-year-old Yong Zheng, a good Samaritan now hailed as a hero in this community.

LINA CHEN: We call Mr. Zheng-- he is our community hero. We weren't fighting with him, so we want to let people to know stop the violence.

NJ BURKETT: Zheng was returning home when he saw groups of men fighting in the street. Believing an innocent Asian man was being attacked, he and a friend tried to intervene. In this surveillance video, detectives say he tries to save the man and was stabbed to death with a screwdriver. It happened at 9:30 on Friday night. As Zheng's four-year-old son wiped away his mother's tears, Zheng's widow told Eyewitness News the crime has left her devastated.

He heard robbery. That's why he jumped in. He didn't know what was going on. He saw a crime. He tried to stop it.

NJ BURKETT: But it was not a bias attack after all. It was an armed robbery outside an illegal gambling hall. Police later arrested an ex-con from Brownsville who had once served time for another killing.

LINA CHEN: We want to [INAUDIBLE]. family, but the people, you know, the five people, killed the whole family.

NJ BURKETT: Zheng's friend, who also intervened, was injured and has since been released from the hospital. Yes, one suspect is in custody, but detectives are still seeking several others. Anybody with information that could help track them down is urged tonight to call the NYPD.