Two older Asian women were stabbed on Tuesday while waiting for a bus in downtown San Francisco, authorities said. The attack occurs amid a spate of anti-Asian violence in the country since the start of the pandemic.
The women, aged 84 and 63, both remain in the hospital and are receiving treatment for multiple stab wounds, the San Francisco Police Department said in a news release on Wednesday. Neither woman is in critical condition.
The SFPD arrested 54-year-old Patrick Thompson at around 7 p.m., two hours after he allegedly stabbed the two women. Police say he faces two counts of attempted murder and two counts of elder abuse.
Investigators have not yet ruled the attack a hate crime, but say they are looking into whether the suspect was motivated by racial bias.
Patricia Lee told a local ABC TV station that she'd been working at a flower stand near the bus platform when she witnessed the incident. "It was a pretty big knife, it had knuckles on the handle and the blade had holes in there like a military knife," she said.
The attack follows a recent surge in hate crimes against Asian Americans in the Bay Area and nationwide during the coronavirus pandemic. From March 2020 through this past February, Stop AAPI Hate — a nonprofit that tracks abuse against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders — documented close to 3,780 hate incidents. The total number of anti-Asian crimes might be much higher.
In New York City, a police hate crime task force is investigating a Sunday attack on two Asian women in midtown Manhattan. Police said another woman accosted the pair, demanded they remove their masks and struck one of the women in the head with a hammer.
The incident followed last week's NYPD arrest of a man who's been charged with hate crimes and attempted murder in connection with a brutal attack that left a 61-year-old Asian man in critical condition. Surveillance video released by police showed the suspect push the victim to the ground before kicking him in the head several times.
Many activists blame the uptick in anti-Asian violence on xenophobic rhetoric and the use of racist language by former President Trump and others to describe the coronavirus.
San Francisco Supervisor Matt Haney, who represents the district where the latest attack took place, shared a link to a GoFundMe for the 85-year-old victim said to be set up by her grandchildren.
Victoria Eng updated the page on Wednesday to say that her grandmother is recovering well after surgery.
"These Asian hate crimes need to stop," she wrote. "San Francisco is my home and my Grandma's home. We need to feel safe where we live and not in constant fear."