A man who allegedly assaulted seven Asian women over about a three hour period in New York City in late February has been indicted on multiple hate crime charges, the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office announced Monday.
Steven Zajonc, 28, is charged with six felony counts of third-degree assault as a hate crime and seven counts of second-degree aggravated harassment, a misdemeanor hate crime.
CNN has not been able to identify an attorney for Zajonc and has reached out to the Legal Aid Society to inquire whether its lawyers are representing him.
On February 27, Zajonc allegedly began a series of unprovoked attacks on the women on the east side of Manhattan, according to the district attorney’s office.
“These attacks on seven New York women, each fueled by anti-Asian hate, are yet another sobering reminder of the demonstrable fears AAPI communities, particularly AAPI women, in our City continue to face,” District Attorney Alvin Bragg said in the release.
“As alleged, within just three hours, Steven Zajonc selectively ambushed seven Asian women in separate assaults, some of which he struck from behind – for no other reason than their perceived race. This indictment is a result of our collaboration with the NYPD’s Hate Crimes Task Force, and critically, assistance from the brave witnesses and victims who came forward to stand up against hate.”
Six victims were injured, including bleeding cuts and bruises to their faces, and one victim was knocked unconscious and treated for a concussion, according to prosecutors.
The victims ranged in age from 19 to 57, according to police information just after the attacks. At least two were treated at a hospital, according to police.
No statements were made before the attacks, and there was no prior interaction between the victims and the assailant, police said.
Hate crimes against Asians increased so much during the Covid-19 pandemic that the New York Police Department created an Asian Hate Crime Task Force.
The NYPD has recorded 158 incidents of hate crimes against Asians between March 8, 2020, and December 29, 2021. One victim, a 61-year-old woman, died from her injuries four months after being attacked by a man with a rock.
The Manhattan District Attorney’s Office says it has 27 open cases related to anti-Asian crimes.
CNN’s Theresa Waldrop, Kiely Westhoff and Mirna Alsharif contributed to this report.