Mar 2, 2022 - Politics & Policy

NYPD looks for man suspected of attacking 7 Asian women in two-hour span

Photo of people holding a large red and yellow sign that says "Stop Asian Hate" in a parade in Chinatown
People hold a "Stop Asian Hate" sign as they march in the Chinatown Lunar New Year Parade on Feb. 20, 2022 in New York City. Photo: John Lamparski via Getty Images

A man is suspected of assaulting seven Asian women in New York City in the span of roughly two hours on Sunday, the New York Police Department (NYPD) said Wednesday in a post asking the public to help track him down.

The big picture: The unprovoked attacks, which are being investigated by the department's Hate Crimes Task Force, follow a string of brutal murders of Asian Americans that have left the community shaken. Anti-Asian hate crimes in NYC jumped by 361% in 2021.

Details: The suspect, described as a man with blonde hair and light complexion, approached his first victim at 6:30 p.m. in Midtown. He allegedly punched a 57-year-old woman in the face before running off. The victim was left with a cut lip and swelling in the left side of her face.

  • Ten minutes later, the suspect allegedly punched a 25-year-old woman in the face and arm before fleeing on foot. He then punched a 21-year-old woman in the face, according to authorities.
  • At 6:50 p.m., he allegedly punched a 25-year-old woman in the face, causing a laceration and swelling in her upper lip. He elbowed a 19-year-old in the face about 15 minutes later.
  • He elbowed a 25-year-old woman in the mouth at 7:25 p.m., the NYPD said. She was treated for swelling and bleeding to the lower lip.
  • He approached his last victim, a 20-year-old woman, at 8:37 p.m. and allegedly shoved her to the ground. Her hands suffered minor injuries.
  • "There was no prior interaction and no statements were made" for any of the attacks, police said. The suspect was last seen wearing a light blue T-shirt and dark-colored pants and shoes. He was carrying a multicolored backpack.

Zoom out: The Asian American community has grieved several high-profile deaths since the start of 2022.

  • Michelle Go, 40, died after someone pushed her in front of a subway train in January.
  • A man followed Christina Yuna Lee, 35, to her home in Chinatown before entering her apartment, stabbing her more than 40 times and leaving her dead in the bathtub.
  • Two victims of violent assaults last year — Guiying Ma, 62, and Yao Pan Ma, 61 — also passed away after suffering complications from their injuries.
  • Though not all are being investigated as hate crimes, they have nonetheless reignited protests and calls for change.

What they're saying: "Why does it have to be a mass shooting or somebody being killed by the subway for there to be attention to this issue?" Cynthia Choi, co-founder of Stop AAPI Hate and co-executive director of Chinese for Affirmative Action, told Axios earlier this year.

  • "All of us ... are trying to address this, both the immediate harm and the fears of our community but also long term, the work that we need to be doing to address systemic racism."

Worth noting: Major U.S. cities saw a record number of reported anti-Asian hate crimes in 2021.

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