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76-Year-Old Asian-American Woman Defends Herself, Puts Alleged Attacker In Stretcher In San Francisco

Xiao Zhen Xie was waiting to cross at an intersection on San Francisco’s Market Street on Wednesday morning when she was allegedly blindsided by a white man.

Police Line

The aftermath of another alleged attack on an older Asian-American in the Bay Area was caught on video this week by a local newsman, who arrived at the scene just after the elderly woman had apparently fended off a white assailant with a stick, landing him in a stretcher.

Xiao Zhen Xie, 76, was waiting to cross at an intersection on San Francisco’s Market Street on Wednesday morning when she was apparently blindsided by the man, who she said approached her and punched her in the eye. Immediately after she was struck, the 76-year-old, who said she has lived in the Bay Area for 26 years, defended herself. 

“She found the stick around the area and fought back,” her daughter, Dong-Mei Li, told KPIX5. 

Walking by at Market St. and Charles J. Brenham Place just after the melee was Dennis O’Donnell, the sports director at KPIX5. He captured footage of a distraught Xie and a blonde-haired man, who has not been identified, lying on a stretcher, bleeding. O’Donnell later uploaded the dramatic clip to Twitter.

“There was a guy on a stretcher and a frustrated angry woman with a stick in her hand,” O'Donnell said of the scene in the city’s Mid-Market area. “The woman said that she was hit. She attacked back. From what I could see, she wanted more of the guy on the stretcher and the police were holding her back.”

In O’Donnell’s clip, a small crowd had gathered as two police officers were seen speaking with each other behind Xie, who appeared visibly upset while holding an ice pack to her injured eye. Paramedics were also seen in the footage tending to the injured white man, who was laid out on a stretcher, handcuffed, and appeared to be bleeding from the face; he also appeared to have an injured left hand. 

“You bum! Why did you hit me?” Xie is heard yelling, in what sounded like Cantonese, at the stricken man. 

“This bum, he hit me,” she told the crowd while raising the stick, sobbing. “He hit me! This bum!”

Witnesses said they saw Xie pummeling the assailant, KPIX 5 reported. The station spoke to Xie, with Li translating, about the incident and her recovery. 

“[I am] very traumatized, very scared and this eye is still bleeding,” she told the station from the retirement home where she lives in San Francisco. “The right eye still cannot see anything and still bleeding and we have something to absorb the bleeding.”

Li set up a GoFundMe page, which has already nearly tripled its $50,000 goal, to help with her mother’s medical expenses. On the page, Li wrote that her mother has two serious black eyes and that her wrist has swollen. 

“She has been severely affected mentally, physically, and emotionally. She also stated that she is afraid to step out of her home from now on. This traumatic event has left her with PTSD,” Li wrote. “She is a cancer survivor and she also has had diabetes for over 10 years now.”

A wave of crime against Asian Americans has plagued the U.S. over the past year. According to a study conducted by Stop AAPI Hate, Asian Americans were targeted in around 3,800 hate incidents in the past year alone, an increase of about 25% from the previous year

Several of these attacks on older Asian Americans have taken place in the Bay Area. In January, a 91-year-old man was shoved to the ground in Oakland; then in March, an assault in San Francisco left 84-year-old Vicha Ratanapakdee dead, while another attack days later led to the death of 75-year-old Pak Ho dead in Oakland

Just this week, 59-year-old Danny Yu Chang was severely beaten — also on San Francisco’s Market Street. Across the country on Tuesday, six Asian women were gunned down at attacks on three Atlanta-area massage parlors.

President Joe Biden condemned "vicious" hate crimes against Asian-Americans in a speech last week, saying that they were being "attacked, harassed, blamed and scapegoated" for the ongoing pandemic. Vice President Kamala Harris, while cautioning about the still undetermined motive in the Atlanta killings, spoke of solidarity with Asian-Americans on Wednesday.

“We stand with you and understand how this has frightened and shocked and outraged," Harris said. 

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