Authorities say a fatal push in San Francisco’s Bayview neighborhood that prompted a police investigation earlier this month may have been an accident, The Standard has learned.
Yanfang Wu, a 63-year-old Chinese immigrant woman, was shoved to the ground on July 3 and hit her head, causing life-threatening injuries. She died two days later.
Initially, the San Francisco Police Department announced a homicide investigation into the case as Wu “was approached from behind by an unknown female suspect” and shoved. The police also identified and interviewed a 42-year-old woman linked to the incident.
But multiple sources close to the matter told The Standard that after reviewing the surveillance video, the incident appears to have been accidental. Sources with knowledge of the investigation revealed that the woman linked to the incident was rushing to the bus when she collided with Wu.
The unnamed woman was released after being interviewed by police.
The police department told the media this week that the case remains open but made no mention of the accident.
No arrest has been made, so the case was never sent to the District Attorney’s Office for any criminal charging decisions.
The slow progress on the investigation has sparked some community outrage.
Lily Ho, a community activist who met with SFPD this week to discuss the case, urged more transparency.
“It’s extremely stressful on the community to feel outrage, fear and uncertainty, knowing that an Asian senior was pushed to her death,” Ho said. “Whether it was an accident or not, SFPD has a responsibility to be forthcoming and timely with information.”
Wu’s husband is currently handling the funeral, which is set for this coming Sunday, according to Michael Wong, a staff member at the Community Youth Center, which provides victim support to monolingual Asian immigrants.
Wong said Wu’s husband is aware of the police’s decision on potentially dropping the criminal case, but he’s too busy with funeral planning and will think about other ways to seek financial assistance once they are no longer considered victims.
Chinese-language press reported that Wu and her husband lived in the Richmond and that a fire in the building forced them to relocate to a relative’s place in Bayview more than a month ago. Wong said Wu’s body will be cremated and sent back to China, where her children live.
Han Li can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org