The suspect wanted in an attack of an Asian American woman near New York City’s Times Square has been arrested and charged with felony assault as a hate crime, police said early Wednesday.
The arrest comes after the man was seen on video kicking and stomping the woman on Monday.
In a statement, police identified him as Brandon Elliot, 38, and said the New York City man was living at a hotel that serves as a homeless shelter a few blocks from the scene of the attack.
He faces charges of assault as a hate crime, attempted assault as a hate crime, assault and attempted assault, police said. It wasn’t immediately known whether he had a lawyer who could speak on his behalf.
Elliot was convicted of stabbing his mother to death in the Bronx in 2002, when he was 19. He was released from prison in 2019 and is on lifetime parole.
The 65-year-old woman, whose name has not been made public, was walking to church in midtown Manhattan, a few blocks from Times Square, when police said a man kicked her in the stomach, knocked her to the ground, stomped on her face, shouted anti-Asian slurs and told her, “You don’t belong here” before walking away.
The woman was discharged from the hospital Tuesday after being treated for serious injuries, a hospital spokesperson said.
The attack Monday was among the latest in a national spike in anti-Asian hate crimes, and happened just weeks after a mass shooting in Atlanta that left eight people dead, six of them women of Asian descent.
The surge in violence has been linked in part to misplaced blame for the coronavirus and Donald Trump’s use of racially charged terms like “China virus”.
Bill de Blasio, New York City’s mayor, called Monday’s attack “absolutely disgusting and outrageous”. He said it was “absolutely unacceptable” that witnesses did not intervene.
“I don’t care who you are, I don’t care what you do, you’ve got to help your fellow New Yorker,” de Blasio said, evoking the post-9/11 mantra of “see something, say something”.