SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — An assault on a San Francisco Chinatown street was interrupted by what witnesses described as “a man in a cowboy hat” who pushed the assailant off the victim and then bear-hugged the suspect until police arrived.

Word of the attack was first published on the @tenderloin live Instagram account and later confirmed by San Francisco police, who said the attack happened on Wednesday at 9:50 a.m. on Clay St. between Stockton Street and Waverly Place.

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Officers arrived to find a 56-year-old man suffering from unspecified injuries. He was treated by medics at the scene and released.

The investigation determined the victim had been in a verbal altercation with another man that escalated into a physical altercation in which the suspect assaulted the victim, police said.

At the time, San Francisco resident Darren Mark Stallcup said he was having breakfast with his girlfriend in his apartment when he heard a commotion outside and looked to see a younger man assaulting an older man in the street.

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Stallcup said he immediately ran down and pushed the younger man off the victim, and the assailant fled around a corner. As he and other bystanders tended to the victim, Stallcup said the suspect returned and began coming at him.

“The guy came back around the corner, ran at me full sprint, this time I bear-hugged him and I held onto him until the authorities got there, and I’m just grateful I was able to get there in time,” said Stallcup. “I don’t know what would have happened had I not been there. It was definitely a crazy situation I’m sure. But I believe in world peace, so it was my intention to stop the attacker but not hurt him. So I felt like the good California bear hug worked this time.”

A man is detained by San Francisco police officers following an alleged assault on Clay St. and Waverly Place, August 18, 2021. (Darren Mark Stallcup)

Police identified the suspect as San Francisco resident Yuefeng Li, 44. and said bystanders and the victim were able to identify him when he returned to the scene.

Li was arrested and booked into county jail for assault likely to result in great bodily injury, threats, and brandishing a deadly weapon. It was not immediately known what kind of weapon was drawn.

Stallcup said he hoped the incident served as an example to those who would bring violence to Chinatown and an inspiration to those who want to make their community better.

He said he has been in contact with the victim’s family who expressed their appreciation for his actions.

“I gave them my number and I told them they can call me anytime. I’ll walk with them anywhere, you know what I’m saying?” said Stallcup. “I want to get involved in my community and make San Francisco a better place. You know, these are crazy times to be alive and I want to be part of the solution, not the problem.”

Anyone with information regarding this incident is asked to contact the SFPD via the SFPD 24-hour-tip line at 1-415-575-4444, or send a text to TIP411 and begin the message with SFPD.

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