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Suspect arrested in violent shoving of Asian American woman in New York

Actor Olivia Munn decried the incident in Queens, which is among several that has the community on edge.
A 52-year-old Asian American woman was attacked outside a New York City bakery on Feb. 16, 2021.
A 52-year-old Asian American woman was attacked outside a New York City bakery on Feb. 16, 2021.Security video / via NBC New York

New York City police arrested a man caught on tape violently shoving an Asian American woman in an attack that drew community outrage, authorities said Thursday.

The NYPD's 109th Precinct said "numerous tips from the community" played a key role in catching 47-year-old Patrick Mateo, "the suspect in the violent assault of an elderly female on Roosevelt Avenue," in Flushing, Queens, a main hub of the city's Asian American community.

"A prime example of the Community & the Police working together for a safer New York City," the NYPD said in a statement.

Mateo was charged with assault and harassment.

The attack happened Tuesday outside of New Flushing Bakery when 52-year-old victim Lee-Lee Chin-Yeung asked Mateo about the line in front of the business, Queens prosecutors said.

The man inexplicably flew into a rage and later charged at Chin-Yeung, who was lifted off her feet and thrown down, security footage showed. Chin-Yeung hit a metal news rack and had to have stitches to her forehead, prosecutors said.

The woman's daughter is a friend of actor Olivia Munn, who asked her Twitter followers to help catch the attacker. "Crazy Rich Asians" actor Ronny Chieng also tweeted out footage of the attack.

Munn tweeted her appreciation on Thursday: "This is the guy you guys helped @nypd find and arrest. This is him attacking my friend’s mom who is a petite 5-foot-3 Chinese woman. F--k this guy. The internet is undefeated. Thank you."

Mateo's lawyer did not immediate return a message seeking his comment on Friday.

In a brief text message exchange with NBC News, Mateo said that footage of the incident was selectively edited and that fuller video from multiple angles would vindicate him.

He also said the victim sprayed Mace into his face and "I had to defend myself."

Mateo wasn't charged with a hate crime because he didn't shout any slurs at the victim and there's no immediate evidence of racial animus playing a role in the attack, officials said.

Tuesday's incident came in the wake of other violent crimes across the nation that have targeted older Asian Americans, raising community concerns.