An Asian-owned convenience store in Charlotte, North Carolina, has been vandalized by a man wielding a metal pole and yelling racial slurs.
CHARLOTTE – An Asian-owned convenience store in Charlotte, North Carolina, was vandalized by a man wielding a metal pole and yelling racial slurs, according to police and a son of the store’s owners.
Surveillance footage shows a man pulling a merchandise rack to the floor and balancing a street sign on the glass of the refrigerators. A man who appears to a friend of the attacker encourages him.
The attack occurred Tuesday at a store called Sundries Plaza that is located in the center of the city, near the main Charlotte transit center. And it comes in the wake of an attack on a woman of Asian descent in New York City and the fatal shooting of eight people at three massage shops in the Atlanta area. Six of those victims were women of Asian descent.
Despite the increased attention to such attacks, the violence and racially charged language were nothing new, said Mark Sung, whose parents own the store, and his wife Grace Lee Sung.
“When my husband got the call (about the attack), it was like a routine,” Lee Sung said. “He was like,” Okay, look at the mess. See surveillance. File the (police) report. “
The pandemic has fueled tension, the couple said, with some people blaming the store owners for the coronavirus. They have lived in the United States for decades since they moved from South Korea.
“It’s like, ‘Hey, you’re different,’” Lee Sung said, offering a sanitized summary of the insults. “’Obviously you can’t be from around here. Go back to your country. ‘
But the owners have experienced a different feeling in the days after the attack: A woman came to the store and gave them soup. A pizza delivery man appeared with five cakes. A local doctor delivered a check. Over $ 30,000 has been raised through GoFundMe to cover the damage to the store.
“My in-laws are more shocked that people really care about the (attack),” Lee Sung said. “And it took them a while to process why they were getting so much attention.”
Charlotte-Mecklenburg police said a company responsible for security at the transit center arrested Xavier Rashee Woody-Silas, The Charlotte Observer reported. He was arrested for robbery with a dangerous weapon, communicating threats, disturbing public order, injury to personal property and resisting a public official, according to public records. It is unclear if he has retained an attorney who can comment on his behalf.
Nationwide hate crimes against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have increased 150% during the pandemic, according to a study by the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University, San Bernardino.
The large amount of support for the shop owners makes them “feel heard,” Lee Sung said of his in-laws.
“My mother-in-law can’t stop crying every time someone says, ‘I’m so sorry for what you’re going through,’ she said. “It’s just a reminder that, wow, things aren’t supposed to be this way.”
But the family is being cautious going forward.
“She’s scared too because she’s not used to all this attention,” Mark Sung said of his mother. “So, she’s also a bit nervous. … We’re just trying to be careful. “