OAKLAND (KPIX 5) — Police in Oakland on Tuesday night announced an arrest in an assault and robbery that critically injured a 75-year-old Asian man, according to authorities.
An official in Oakland’s Chinatown community told KPIX the victim was brain dead from the critical injuries he suffered in the attack.
Authorities on both sides of the Bay have been trying to address attacks on older Asian citizens in San Francisco, Oakland and elsewhere.
The latest attack happened just before 7 a.m. Tuesday morning at the intersection of Jayne Avenue and Perkins Street, not far from Lake Merritt.
According to representatives in Oakland’s Chinatown community, the victim was shoved to the ground on Jayne Avenue and left with life-threatening injuries.
On Tuesday night at around 9 p.m., Oakland police confirmed an arrest in connection with the assault. Police also confirmed the 75-year-old Oakland resident was robbed.
According to authorities, Oakland patrol officers and investigators spent the day collecting evidence and later took a suspect into custody in connection with the crime. The suspect was not identified.
“I am saddened to hear of yet another violent attack on the elders of our community,” said Oakland Police Chief LeRonne L. Armstrong. “The trauma this causes has a ripple effect, on the victim, their family, and the entire community. My officers are dedicated to bringing those involved in this senseless crime and all crimes to justice.”
Citizen app video caught moments just after the attack this morning. Neighbors say the victim was taking his usual morning walk at the time.
One neighbor told KPIX she recognized the victim as soon as she saw him being loaded into the ambulance.
Florence Williams has lived in this Oakland neighborhood for 35 years. She says for the past two years, she has seen the same elderly Chinese man walking up and down Jayne Avenue at around 7 o’clock in the morning.
“They brought him around, then I said, ‘That’s the guy that walks up and down the street,'” said Williams. “Every morning, he walks around that time or a little earlier.”
Which is why she said she was so stunned when she learned he was the victim of the latest attack on an elderly member of Oakland’s Chinese community.
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“I was very sad; very sad. And I was telling the officers, ‘I hope you guys catch him real soon.’ Because nobody deserves that. Nobody,” said Williams.
Oakland Chinatown Chamber of Commerce President Carl Chan said this latest attack goes to show the spike in violence is not just in the Chinatown area, but targeting elderly Asian Americans across the city.
“People always thought that if only you’re in the Chinatown community, or in an Asian community, but it could happen actually anywhere,” said Chan. “When I heard about this…it’s just so hurtful. I know people are saying that they’re angry. I’m not angry. I’m so sad.”
Chan said he has been in contact with those close to the family and is being told the victim is now brain dead from the injuries he suffered during the attack. He said so far, they do not know the motive behind the attack, whether this was a robbery, a racially motivated assault or both.
Chan would like to see more patrols in the area to protect Oaklander’s public safety.
“We’re so hoping that this kind of crimes and attack don’t happen again. Not only to the Asian community. We just don’t want that to happen to anyone at all.”
Tuesday night, the Oakland Reimagining Public Safety Task Force held a listening session to gather public input on public safety and violent crime in Oakland. Liz, an advisory board member said the recent attacks show a need to invest in communities and not the police.
“The years of results of de-investment is being very hard felt by the black community and communities of color and the Asian community is now feeling the brunt of that at this moment,” she said.
Police would not say if they have been able to rule out whether or not this was a racially motivated attack
Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf released a statement about the attack early Tuesday evening.
“This morning’s violent attack against an Asian-American elder in our Adams Point neighborhood is reprehensible,” Schaaf said. “Our police will investigate thoroughly to determine whether this was racially motivated or a vile crime of opportunity. Every act of violence traumatizes our community, and I pray for healing to the victim and his family.”
The victim has not been identified. Police ask that anyone with information on the assault and robbery to contact the Oakland Police Department’s Criminal Investigation Division at (510) 238-3821.
The incident comes during a heightened effort from Oakland police to bring the recent surge violence in Chinatown to an end.
In a two-week span in February, authorities recorded 18 crimes against Asian Americans around Oakland’s Chinatown, according Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O’Malley. She has launched a special unit within her department to investigate the attacks.
To counter the surge in violence, Oakland Police Chief LeRonne Armstrong has deployed the department’s mobile community command unit to Chinatown and increased police street patrols. He also took the streets to personally assure residents and business owners that his department was there to protect them.
“We wanted our business owners and community to know that we care,” Armstrong said. “That we are concerned and are going to do everything to keep the community safe.”
Andrea Nakano also contributed to this story.