A 75-year-old Asian woman says she fought back after being punched in the eye Wednesday morning in what police believe was an unprovoked assault.
“He bullies old people,” Xiao Zhen Xie said in a video taken after the attack by CNN affiliate KPIX. “So I gave a punch.”
The San Francisco Police Department said that Steven Jenkins had allegedly attacked an 83-year-old Asian man in a separate incident and was being chased by a security guard when he hit Xie.
The guard was able to detain Jenkins until police took him into custody.
CNN has attempted to reach Jenkins, but he is being held at San Francisco County Jail on $50,000 bail and can’t be reached for comment. The San Francisco Public Defender’s office said it is not yet involved in the case.
Witnesses said he had been in another physical altercation about 30 minutes earlier, a San Francisco Police spokesman said in a statement.
The video shows a crowd of police officers, paramedics and bystanders gathered around Xie while she holds an ice pack to the side of her head.
She cries out and points at a man who is handcuffed to a stretcher and is being treated.
“He hit people,” Xie is heard saying in the video, speaking in Cantonese. “He bullied me, he bullied me, jerk.”
At one point, Xie gestures towards the man with a large stick she’s holding.
Police said that Jenkins, 39, was taken to a hospital for “an unrelated, prior medical condition.”
They said the woman was not responsible for his injuries.
Jenkins was later booked at San Francisco County Jail on two charges of assault likely to produce great bodily injury and two charges of elder abuse, police said.
Both victims were taken to the hospital for non-life-threatening injuries, police said.
Police have not identified the victims and said the case is still under investigation.
“Investigators are working to determine if bias was a motivating factor in the incident,” police said.
Violence and discrimination against Asian Americans has increased dramatically across the country, coinciding with the Covid-19 pandemic.
The group Stop AAPI Hate says it has received at least 3,795 firsthand complaints of violence and discrimination against Asian Americans since it began tracking them last March.
The killings of eight people, most of them Asian, at three spas in the Atlanta area have added to the community’s fears.
Xie told KPIX that she was leaning against a utility pole waiting for a traffic light to change when she was hit.
She told KPIX that she found a stick and used it to defend herself. Her daughter, Dong-Mei Li, translated the interview.
“I don’t know him. Why [did] he attack me?” Xie told KPIX through her daughter.
Li said her mother couldn’t see out of her left eye on Wednesday night.
“Very scared and traumatized and very hurt and this eye still bleeding,” Li said, referring to her mother.
Xie told KPIX that she has lived in San Francisco for 26 years.
“As you can see she is extremely terrified,” Xie’s grandson, John Chen, told KPIX. “She’s terrified to even step out.”
The SFPD said it is increasing patrols in predominately Asian neighborhoods following an “alarming spike” in attacks against Asian Americans in recent weeks.
CNN’s Dan Simon and Augie Martin contributed to this story.