comscore Asian woman, 76, fights off attacker on San Francisco street | Honolulu Star-Advertiser
Top News

Asian woman, 76, fights off attacker on San Francisco street

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS
                                A San Francisco Police vehicle in San Francisco, in May 2020. A 76-year-old woman from China who fought back against a man who punched her on a downtown San Francisco street corner said the unprovoked attack left her scared and traumatized. Her alleged assailant was arrested Thursday.

    ASSOCIATED PRESS

    A San Francisco Police vehicle in San Francisco, in May 2020. A 76-year-old woman from China who fought back against a man who punched her on a downtown San Francisco street corner said the unprovoked attack left her scared and traumatized. Her alleged assailant was arrested Thursday.

SAN FRANCISCO >> A 76-year-old woman from China who fought back against a man who punched her on a downtown San Francisco street corner said the unprovoked attack left her scared and traumatized. Her alleged assailant was arrested Thursday.

Xiao Zhen Zie told KPIX-TV in a tearful interview she was waiting to cross a downtown street on Wednesday when a 39-year-old man punched her without warning and for no reason, one of several recent attacks on elderly Asian Americans in the Bay Area.

Speaking in her native Taishanese dialect that was translated by her daughter, Zie said she instinctively responded by hitting the man repeatedly with a wooden stick.

A KPIX-TV employee videotaped the aftermath of the attack after he stumbled upon the scene during his morning run. Zie is seen wailing on the video as she puts an ice pack on her bruised eye and the video shows the assailant placed on a stretcher, blood dripping from his mouth.

“Very traumatized, very scared and this eye is still bleeding,” the woman’s daughter, Dong-Mei Li, told the station as she described her mother’s injuries. “The right eye still cannot see anything.”

Zei’s grandson, John Chen, said the attack left his grandmother too terrified to leave her house.

Police said the suspect, Steven Jenkins, assaulted an 83-year-old Asian man in the same area shortly before he attacked Zie. A security guard chased Jenkins after he assaulted the man and as he was fleeing, he punched Zie, Officer Adam Lobsinger said in a statement.

The security guard detained Jenkins until officers arrived.

After being treated at the hospital for an unrelated medical condition, Jenkins was taken to jail and booked for investigation of assault and elder abuse, Lobsinger said.

Investigators are trying to determine if racial bias was a factor in the assaults. It was not immediately clear if Jenkins had a lawyer who could comment on his behalf.

Police have increased patrols in the city’s Asian neighborhoods, following the deadly shootings in Georgia that left six Asian women and two others dead amid the recent surge of violence in the San Francisco Bay Area.

The attacks have raised new fears for members of the Asian American community, who have increasingly been targets of harassment and violence since the coronavirus started spreading in the U.S. last year.

Click here to see our full coverage of the coronavirus outbreak. Submit your coronavirus news tip.

Be the first to know
Get web push notifications from Star-Advertiser when the next breaking story happens — it's FREE! You just need a supported web browser.
Subscribe for this feature
Comments (37)

By participating in online discussions you acknowledge that you have agreed to the Terms of Service. An insightful discussion of ideas and viewpoints is encouraged, but comments must be civil and in good taste, with no personal attacks. If your comments are inappropriate, you may be banned from posting. Report comments if you believe they do not follow our guidelines.

Having trouble with comments? Learn more here.

Scroll Up