Asian elderly woman attacked in San Francisco defends herself and sends suspected attacker to hospital

An elderly woman who was attacked on Market Street in San Francisco on Wednesday, the latest victim in a wave of attacks on Asians in the Bay Area, turned her attacker around, leaving him with injuries that required a trip to the hospital.

Xiao Zhen Xie spoke candidly with CBS San Francisco about the attack from his retirement home for the elderly in the city, with his daughter, Dong-Mei Li, helping to translate.

“Very traumatized, very scared and this eye is still bleeding,” Li told KPIX 5. “The right eye still can’t see anything and (keeps) bleeding and we have something to absorb the bleeding.”

His mother was holding an ice pack to her face at the scene of the attack. Police said both the assailant and the victim were taken to a hospital for treatment.

Surrounded by her family, the 76-year-old, who has lived in San Francisco for 26 years, said she was quite shocked and that the attack was not provoked at all. His immediate instinct was to fight.

He said he was waiting at a stoplight when the suspect suddenly punched him in the left eye.

Immediately, his instincts kicked in to defend himself. Although he suffered injuries and required medical attention, it was his attacker who ended up on a stretcher. Li says: “He found the stick around the area and defended himself.”

Xie’s grandson John Chen told CBS San Francisco that his grandmother “is extremely terrified. She’s terrified to even go out.”

CBS San Francisco sports director Dennis O’Donnell appeared on the scene during his morning run.

“There was a guy on a gurney and a frustrated, angry woman with a stick in her hand,” O’Donnell said. “From what I could see, she wanted more of the guy on the stretcher and the police were holding her.”

Witnesses told the station they saw the woman hitting her attacker.

In video taken at the scene, the suspect is handcuffed to a stretcher with a bloody face. The sobbing victim appears to scold him and wave what appears to be a wooden board as he is carried away.

“Tramp, why did you hit me?” the woman said in Chinese.

Then he turned to the crowd of people who had gathered and exclaimed, “This bum, he hit me,” while lifting the stick he was holding and sobbing. “This bum hit me,” he repeated.

Officers also say there was a second victim earlier, an 83-year-old Asian man.

A 39-year-old man is being investigated for both attacks, and police say they are trying to determine whether bias was a factor.

The family has created a GoFundMe account to help with medical expenses.


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