Police have arrested a man they say is responsible for committing a brutal attack against an Asian woman on Monday that left the victim hospitalized with “serious” injuries.
The NYPD confirmed early Wednesday morning that they had arrested a suspect and charged him with felony assault as a hate crime. The department identified the suspect as Brandon Elliot, 38, to NBC News, the Associated Press and the New York Post.
Elliot was reportedly on lifetime parole after being released from prison in 2019. He was serving time after he was convicted of fatally stabbing his mother in 2002.
The Associated Press reports that Elliot was living at a hotel that serves as a homeless shelter that is located a few blocks away from where the attack took place.
Thanks to assistance from the public and excellent investigative work by @NYPDHateCrimes Detectives, the individual wanted for Monday’s assault of a 65 year-old Asian female, at 360 West 43rd St, was arrested and charged with Felony Assault as a Hate Crime. pic.twitter.com/ZQRVGZEAb2— NYPD Hate Crimes (@NYPDHateCrimes) March 31, 2021
The New York Times reports that the victim in the case is 65-year-old Vilma Kari, a native of the Philippines. The Times reports that she was still hospitalized on Tuesday.
The attack occurred Monday around 11:40 a.m. local time, as Kari was walking to church. Security camera footage taken from inside a building on West 43rd Street in Manhattan showed the suspect approach Kari, shove her to the ground and kick her in the head. The suspect also reportedly yelled expletives and told her that “you don’t belong here.”
That video also shows witnesses in the building failing to come to the aid of the victim. One man, identified by WABC as a security guard, closes the building’s front door as the assault takes place while two other men in blazers look on.
On Tuesday, the company that owns the building from which the security footage was recorded said that staff members featured in the video had been suspended pending an investigation.
The security camera footage included in the tweet below shows brutal violence and may be difficult for some to watch.
NYPD says 65-year-old Asian American woman was walking to church this morning when suspect assaulted her and said “f*** you, you don’t belong here.” Happened in front of 360 W. 43rd St. 11:40am. Sources say building security guard not only failed to render her aid... 1/2 pic.twitter.com/ZLtQEHHJci— CeFaan Kim (@CeFaanKim) March 30, 2021
Monday’s attack comes amid rising reports of hate crimes against people in the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community. Earlier this month, eight people — including six Asian women — were killed in three separate shootings at Atlanta-area spas.
Stop AAPI Hate, an advocacy group, reported nearly 4,000 instances of hate instances against Asian Americans in the U.S. between March 2020 and February 2021 — more than 10 a day.
The rise in hate instances mirrors the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, as Asian Americans unjustly face blame for the spread of the virus. That sentiment was further spread by former President Donald Trump, who often used racially-charged terms to describe the virus.