Suspect in Brutal Attack on 65-Year-Old Asian Woman Has Been Arrested

He was already on lifetime parole after he was convicted of murdering his mother in 2002.
March 31, 2021, 1:23pm
Video image of the suspect arrested in a brutal broad-daylight attack on an asian woman in Manhattan.
Video image of the suspect arrested in a brutal broad-daylight attack on an asian woman in Manhattan. (Source: NYPD)

UPDATE: This article has been updated to clarify that the building employees were doormen, not security guards, and with comments from a press conference Wednesday.

A man suspected in the brutal attack on a 65-year-old Filipino woman in broad daylight in Manhattan Monday has been arrested, according to the New York City Police Department.

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The suspect was identified as 38-year-old Brandon Elliot, according to a tweet by New York Police Commissioner Dermot Shea. He was charged Wednesday with two counts of assault as a hate crime as well as attempted assault as a hate crime, assault, and attempted assault, according to a police spokesperson. 

Surveillance footage depicting Monday’s attack showed the woman being forcefully kicked to the sidewalk and repeatedly stomped on as bystanders watched. Det. Michael Rodriguez, an investigator for the NYPD’s Hate Crime Task Force, said during a press conference Wednesday that there were no 911 calls stemming from the incident.

It wasn’t immediately clear if Elliot has an attorney. He was already on lifetime parole after he was convicted of murdering his mother in 2002, according to WNBC in New York. Elliot, who was released from prison in 2019, was living in a hotel that also serves as a homeless shelter, according to USA Today. 

The hotel is located just a few blocks from the scene of the attack, which occurred in the New York City’s Midtown neighborhood, according to the Associated Press.

That beating, during which the woman was allegedly told “You don’t belong here,” stoked outrage after a persistent, disturbing wave of anti-Asian violence across the country. Just in New York City alone, there have been at least 33 hate crimes with an Asian victim so far this year, compared to 11 attacks with Asian victims by the same time last year, according to WNBC. 

People were also seen apparently failing to act on apartment surveillance footage: An employee at the luxury building appeared to close the door during the incident. The attacker then walked away.

“I don’t care who you are, I don’t care what you do, you’ve got to help your fellow New Yorker,” New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said Tuesday. 

Building employees who witnessed the attack have been suspended, according to the New York Times, although a union representing staff members, 32BJ SEIU, has said the door employees immediately called for help. 

A spokesperson for 32BJ SEIU clarified to VICE News that the building employees—who were doormen, not security guards, as widely reported—flagged down a police car after the attack. A spokesperson for the NYPD also confirmed that someone from the building stopped the patrolling officers.

The victim, identified as Vilma Kari, was taken to the hospital with serious injuries and discharged Tuesday, according to WNBC. 

Kari’s daughter told the New York Times that the 65-year-old immigrated to the U.S. from the Philippines decades ago.