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63-year-old Asian woman punched, struck with broom by 4 teens in San Francisco, police say

Yellow police tape stretches across a distant scene and warns viewers not to cross its path
Police said the teens punched, kicked and struck the victim with a broom. No arrests have been made. | Source: Adobe Stock

Four teens punched, kicked and hit a 63-year-old Asian woman with a broom in a parking garage in San Francisco's SoMa neighborhood on Wednesday afternoon, police said.

The assault occurred around 2:52 p.m. in a garage on Mission Street between Fourth and Fifth streets, the San Francisco Police Department said. The assailants were two boys and two girls between the ages of 16 and 18. Officers rendered aid to the victim, who was then transported by paramedics to a local hospital with life-threatening injuries.

The San Francisco Fire Department confirmed that an ambulance responded to the scene but gave a conflicting report about the level of injuries suffered by the victim, saying they were minor.

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency confirmed the assault happened at the Fifth and Mission/Yerba Buena Parking Garage, which it operates.

The exterior of a parking garage is seen from a city street.
Police said the assault occurred in a parking garage on Mission Street between Fourth and Fifth streets. | Source: Google Street View

Authorities said the teens fled on foot and assaulted the victim with a broom.

Police searched the area for suspects but did not locate any, said the SFPD, which had made no arrests. The department did not provide a motive or any additional details about the possible reason for the attack.

Hate crimes against members of the Asian American and Pacific Islander community have been a pressing issue locally and spiked during the pandemic. Such attacks in San Francisco jumped by 500% in 2021, when 60 reports of hate crimes were reported against AAPI people, according to Police Chief Bill Scott, who noted the sharp increase from the nine such incidents that were reported in 2020.

Reports of assaults and other violent crimes against Asians have decreased since, according to Community Youth Center Program Director Michael Wong, whose organization does wellness checks and provides wraparound services for hate crime victims.

Still, some segments of the population remain vulnerable.

"Asian seniors are easy targets for home invasions, robberies and assaults because they're less able to resist," Wong said.

Wong said his staff are working with police to get more information about the victim and what happened to connect the person with resources and to contact their family.

A Pew Research Center survey conducted between July 5, 2022 and Jan. 27, 2023 found that of 7,006 Asian American adults who responded, 32% said they knew another Asian person who had been threatened or attacked since the pandemic.

Garrett Leahy can be reached at garrett@sfstandard.com