SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) — Recovering in the hospital following a shocking stabbing attack in San Francisco’s Tenderloin neighborhood, 94-year-old Anh “Peng” Taylor had a simple question for her niece keeping vigil with her: “Why would something like this happen to me?”
Taylor was the victim in what San Francisco police say was an unprovoked attack Wednesday morning on the 800 block of Post St.READ MORE: Dixie Fire Grows To 192,849 Acres; 21% Contained
Her family says she was stabbed straight through her wrist and hit in the head. She also suffered minor stab wounds in her torso. Taylor is expected to survive.
Taylor’s niece also said her aunt told her that after the attack there were passers-by who didn’t stop to help her, but one person did call 911 which brought police officers right away.
“I visit with her once, twice a week, we hang out. It’s just sad that someone would be such a monster and so cruel,” said friend and neighbor Miranda Benvenuti.
KPIX 5 obtained a photo of the suspect from a law enforcement source that was circulated among officers to capture 35-year-old Daniel Cauich, less than two hours after the attack.
“She just goes for little walks with her cane, she doesn’t bother anybody,” said Benvenuti. “She gives us cookies because he saved her hand from the elevator gate once.”
Her niece said Taylor is Chinese Vietnamese and a widow of a US war veteran, who passed away about two years ago.
She used to be a chef and had her own restaurant in Laos, where she met her husband. They married in Bangkok and lived there for a few years, before moving to Hawaii and eventually San Francisco in the early seventies.
Taylor has lived in her San Francisco apartment for the last 40-plus years.
“It’s kind of like shock now, especially for elderly people and I have my dad too, who lives two buildings from here, so I’m kind of concerned,” said Juan Carlos, who lives in the building.
Benvenuti has taken steps to protect herself.
“The violence has increased a lot in this neighborhood lately, and I myself walk around with a stun gun when I’m alone, because there’s strange types everywhere, and they come at you on the street,” said Benvenuti.
Here are photos of Anh Taylor the family shared with me. Her niece says she’s an amazing and lovely person, and has been living in SF since the early 70s. She’s in stable condition. She was stabbed straight through her wrist, in the torso, and hit in the head @KPIXtv 11 pm pic.twitter.com/KSppHBTcQv
— Betty Yu (@BettyKPIX) June 17, 2021
Cauich had been released from a previous case when he was arrested. He has a long criminal history that includes murder and burglary charges.READ MORE: CHP Seeks Suspects in Deadly Saturday Freeway Shooting in Concord
Cauich and his younger brother were arrested in September of 2020 in connection with a series of bike thefts in the city’s North Beach area.
The San Francisco Police Officers Association tweeted:
“[District Attorney] Chesa Boudin says he can’t prosecute if SFPD doesn’t arrest. This suspect was arrested 5 times in 2020 on multiple burglary charges. When he stabbed this woman, he was on an ankle monitor. What do you have to do to actually go to jail in SF? Really.”
Chesa Boudin says he can’t prosecute if SFPD doesn’t arrest. This suspect was arrested 5 times in 2020 on multiple burglary charges. When he stabbed this woman, he was on an ankle monitor. What do you have to do to actually go to jail in SF? Really. https://t.co/ERd2RnVGKt
— San Francisco POA (@SanFranciscoPOA) June 17, 2021
In a statement to KPIX 5 Thursday morning, the District Attorney’s office pushed back on the SFPOA’s claims.
“It is deeply troubling to see that the POA is exploiting a tragedy for their own political motivations and spreading misinformation to the public. As has been previously reported, just last month, after filing new felony charges against him, our office filed a motion to detain Mr. Cauich in jail. The Court disagreed and instead released him on an ankle monitor. We also prosecuted Mr. Cauich on multiple felony burglary charges in March of 2021; he was sentenced to jail and probation, along with other conditions,” a spokesperson for the DA’s office said.
Earlier, Boudin tweeted his reaction on Wednesday, calling the stabbing a “devastating tragedy” and saying his office “will also continue working to support the AAPI community and towards solutions to end the recent surge in violence the AAPI community has faced nationwide.”
The stabbing of a 94 year-old Chinese woman today is a devastating tragedy, and we will work around the clock to support the victim and her family while also investigating this case with all our resources.
We will update the public when we know more.
— Chesa Boudin 博徹思 (@chesaboudin) June 17, 2021
San Francisco police said investigators were still determining whether the attack was motivated by hate.
On Thursday, Taylor’s family set up an online fundraiser to help with her medical expenses.MORE NEWS: Family of Delivery Man Slain in Walnut Creek Demands More Arrests for Suspect's Friends
“She has a very limited income and we would really appreciate extra support to help her,” the fundraiser organizer said in a statement on the website. “This incident has taken away her independence as she will no longer be able to live alone here in our building.”