A 39-year-old white man was arrested in connection with the assaults of two Asians in downtown San Francisco, and police said Thursday that the second attack left the man on a stretcher after a victim apparently fought back.
Steven Jenkins was booked on six criminal counts, two each of assault likely to produce great bodily injury, battery with serious bodily injury and elder abuse, according to San Francisco County Jail records.
"The assault was brought to the attention of the security guard who pursued Jenkins on foot," the police statement continued. "As Jenkins was fleeing, he assaulted the female victim. The security guard was able to detain Jenkins until officers arrived."
Footage of the aftermath showed bruised and irate Xiao Zhen Xie, 75, with a stick in her hand being held back from going after Jenkins, strapped into a stretcher and bleeding from his mouth.
"He hit me, he hit me," the woman screamed in a Taishanese dialect before calling him by a crude expletive. Another man, also in Taishanese, held her back and said: “Don’t go. Just don’t go."
The woman's grandson, John Chen, said she has two black eyes and is struggling to see out of her right eye.
"These times is not good for a normal walk on a street, especially for Asian elders, been targeted a lot," he told NBC Bay Area. "She's still suffering some pretty serious trauma."
The woman's daughter, May Li, said she's been horrified to see the increased assaults on Asians, particularly against older victims who are often hit n the face.
"The people always hit the older people, and why? Always hit the eye. You see all the senior people is hurt around the eye. I don't understand," she said.
The 83-year-old victim, Knoc Pham, was taken to a hospital with a bruised face and neck fracture.
Jenkins, who was being held in the county jail in lieu of $50,000 bail, is scheduled to face a judge on Friday afternoon. It wasn't immediately clear if Jenkins had an attorney.
No one picked up the phone at the San Francisco Public Defender's Office on Friday morning, and multiple emails to the office were not immediately returned.
Attacks against Asian Americans have spiked in the past year, in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic and racist language linking the virus with people of Asian descent.
In San Francisco, police Capt. Julian Ng said his department will increase their presence in Asian neighborhoods in hopes of soothing community fears. They will use bike patrols and even SWAT officers, he said.