A suspect accused of assaulting and robbing a 75-year-old Asian American man in California now faces a murder charge after the victim died from his injuries Thursday, officials said.
Pak Ho, of Oakland, was on his daily walk at the intersection of Jayne Avenue and Perkins Street on Tuesday morning when Teaunte Bailey, 26, approached him, the Oakland Police Department said.
Authorities said there was a dispute that resulted in Ho being robbed and injured. The victim was taken to a hospital and Bailey was later arrested in connection with the assault and robbery, police said.
Ho suffered brain damage and died from his injuries Thursday, the Alameda County District Attorney's Office said.
Bailey faces charges of "special circumstance murder" and first-degree robbery and assault, according to a criminal complaint. The allegations of special circumstances include crimes against elders, according to The Associated Press.
“I’m at a loss for words,” Oakland police Chief LeRonne L. Armstrong said in a statement. “Our elders should be protected not the victim of a deadly assault."
The Oakland Police Department said Thursday that Bailey "has a history of victimizing elderly Asian people."
The suspect was also charged with robbery and assault following a Feb. 19 incident, the criminal complaint said. Bailey was accused of breaking into a senior living apartment, shoving a 72-year-old, and stealing multiple items from the victim's home, the court document said.
While Ho’s three daughters wish circumstances were different, a spokesperson for them told NBC Bay Area that the family is glad the public is getting introduced to their father and hope his story will lead to change.
“It is always good to have a picture so people can relate to who they’re talking about,” Chan said. “It’s not just a name, but actually a physical person. Flesh and blood, so people understand that they’re actually human beings being hurt.”
Chan added that he believes the incident should be a labeled a hate crime. Police have not determined if the assault was a hate crime or a crime of opportunity.
It was unclear whether Bailey had an attorney. Efforts to reach Bailey by phone Friday were unsuccessful.
A court hearing was scheduled for Friday.
The case is being handled by the DA’s Special Response Team, which was created last month to address the uptick in crimes against Asian Americans.
An analysis of police department statistics revealed that the United States experienced a significant hike in anti-Asian hate crimes last year across 16 major cities. The analysis, which the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University, San Bernardino released this month, found that while hate crimes in 2020 decreased overall by 7 percent, those targeting Asian people rose by nearly 150 percent.
San Francisco experienced a 50 percent increase from six to nine anti-Asian hate crimes last year, according to the analysis.