SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — Police in San Francisco on Wednesday identified the man arrested for stabbing two older Asian women in the city’s Mid-Market area Tuesday afternoon.
The two victims — 85-year-old Chui Fong Eng and a second unidentified 63-year-old woman — were attacked shortly before by a suspect armed with a knife while waiting for a bus on Market Street near 4th and Stockton streets in downtown San Francisco.READ MORE: Former Presidential Candidate Andrew Yang Touts Basic Income at Mountain View Rally
Both women were taken to San Francisco General for treatment with Chui Fong Eng suffering life-threatening injuries.
Police said during the course of their investigation into the stabbing, officers obtained an image of the suspect. Officers from the Tenderloin Station recognized the suspect from prior contact and identified him as 54-year-old San Francisco resident Patrick Thompson.
At around 7 p.m. Tuesday evening, officers located Thompson on the 600 block of Eddy Street where he was taken into custody without incident. Thompson was later booked at the San Francisco County Jail on two charges of attempted murder and elder abuse.
KPIX 5 obtained a photo of an individual who multiple witnesses have confirmed is the stabbing suspect.
Eric Yung was helping his aunt at Union Square Flowers when they both noticed a man wielding a large knife and approaching the bus stop, just feet away.
“He was behind her, did like this [motions with arm] and I see the feathers of the jacket just fly out,” remembered Patricia Lee, who works at Union Square Flowers.
Seconds after the attack, Yung snapped a photo while following the suspect. Multiple witnesses confirmed it was of the person who stabbed both women and was identified the black and yellow bag he was carrying.
“All you see is just a big silver thing in hand, brass-knuckle style; slowly puts it in and walks off,” said Yung.
“Military style knife,” agreed a second witness, who only gave her name as Devin. “I saw brass knuckles at the end of it. Couldn’t tell you how long, because part of it was still in her.”
Police said the investigation into the stabbing is being led by the Tenderloin Station Investigations Team with assistance from the SFPD Night Investigations Unit. Police are working to determine if the attack was motivated by racial bias and qualifies for an additional hate crime charge.
A hate crime is defined as a criminal offense against a person or property motivated in whole or in part by an offender’s bias against a race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, ethnicity, gender or gender identity.
At least one witness told KPIX that there was no question in her mind about whether the suspect should face additional charges.
“That was a hate crime. He didn’t rob them. He just hurt them, so what else could it be?” said Devin. “Regardless of nationality or ethnicity, they didn’t deserve that. That’s someone’s grandmother or mother.”READ MORE: National Park Service Proposes Parking Fees at Popular Bay Area Beaches
For his part, Lee said that he was happy he could help in the investigation.
“We’re no heroes. We just wanted to make sure we knew where he’s going so we could give some information,” said Lee.
While both women underwent surgery Tuesday evening, on Wednesday police confirmed that the 63-year-old victim sustained non-life-threatening injuries. Chui Fong Eng was initially treated for life-threatening injuries, but police said her medical status has since been upgraded.
Both victims remain in the hospital.
Chui Fong Eng’s grandson Drew Eng spoke to KPIX’s Betty Yu Tuesday night in an exclusive interview. He said that his grandmother had finished grocery shopping in Chinatown and was waiting for the bus on Market Street near 4th Street when she was attacked.
“She was on the N Judah, or going on to the N Judah, waiting for it and I guess she was attacked from behind and stabbed through the arm and into the chest,” said Eng. “And they had to keep her that way and strap her tight ’til they got to the hospital in the ambulance.”
He said that the second woman who was attacked was not known to his grandmother.
“She didn’t know the other victim, and they were both at the bus stop and both stabbed there,” said Eng. “I think the other lady was stabbed first.”
He added that his grandmother has lived in San Francisco for 50 years, and nothing like this has ever happened to her.
“You just don’t think it’s going to happen so close to home until it does. So you just got to be super aware of your loved ones,” he said.
Eng’s family has set up an online fundraiser for her medical bills.
San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin issued a statement Wednesday decrying the latest attack against the city’s AAPI community.
“Now more than ever, we must stand in unwavering support of the AAPI community, which has been victimized by senseless violence, racism, and hatred over the past year and beyond,” the statement read. “Attacks on our AAPI community and especially on our elderly residents are horrifying, not just to the victims who suffer physical injury but to the entire AAPI community that has been living in fear. We will hold those who commit these acts of violence and hate accountable.”
Boudin also said that his office was still receiving all of the related evidence and information from police and would announce charging details on Thursday.
“We expect arraignment in open court on the charges as soon as Friday afternoon,” the statement said. “I commend the San Francisco Police Department and its officers for quickly responding and rendering aid to the victims on scene and arresting the suspect.”
Police said that while an arrest has been made, the incident remains under active investigation. Anyone with information is asked to call the SFPD Tip Line at 1-415-575-4444 or Text a Tip to TIP411 and begin the text message with SFPD.MORE NEWS: CVS Stores Roll Out Pfizer Booster Shots Across Bay Area
Kenny Choi contributed to this story.