SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — An elderly San Francisco woman who fought back during an assault – and who has received nearly $1 million in donations after her story went viral – will be donating the funds to the Asian American community to fight racism, according to her family.
75-year-old San Francisco resident Xiao Zhen Xie garnered international attention after using a wooden board to fight off a man who assaulted her on Market St. last Wednesday morning. Police said the same man, identified as 39-year-old Steven Jenkins, had also attacked 83-year-old Ngoc Pham just before the attack on Xie. Jenkins was arrested at the scene.
In the days following news of Xie’s attack, an online fundraiser has generated more than $900,000 after an initial $50,000 goal to cover her medical expenses.
Xie’s grandson John Chen told KPIX 5 the family would be donating all of the funds toward combating hate against Asian Americans. In an update on her family’s GoFundMe Monday, Chen wrote,
When we visited our grandma yesterday and today her overall mental and physical health has improved. Her eye is no longer swelled to the point of not being able to open it. She is now starting to feel optimistic again and is in better spirits. She said we must not summit to racism and we must fight to the death if necessary. She also stated multiple times to donate all the funds generated in this GoFundMe back to the Asian American community to combat racism. She insists on making this decision saying this issue is bigger than Her. This is my grandma, grandpa, and our family’s decision. We hope everyone can understand our decision.
An online fundraiser for Pham has also generated nearly $300,000 after an initial goal of $25,000. Both Pham and Xie are recovering from their injuries, their families reported.
Police said officers took custody of Jenkins after he was detained by a nearby security guard. Witnesses said Jenkins had also been involved in a physical altercation at nearby U.N. Plaza approximately 30 minutes prior to the two assaults. Police said Jenkins assaulted Pham as he walked away from the nearby farmer’s market and a security guard chased him on foot. As Jenkins fled the area he assaulted Xie and she retaliated, police said. The security guard was then able to detain Jenkins until officers arrived.
Following the two attacks, police clarified that Jenkins was taken to a local hospital for an unrelated, prior medical condition. He 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.