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Politics & Policy

Suspect in attack on Asian woman, 71, linked to fatal 2023 incident, sources say

A police car marked 'SFPD' is parked as a blurred cyclist in a neon vest rides by.
A woman questioned about a fatal incident in 2023 was arrested by San Francisco police for an assault. | Source: Isaac Ceja/The Standard

A 43-year-old woman accused of attacking a 71-year-old Asian woman this week in San Francisco was also a person of interest in an incident that left another Asian woman dead last year, sources with knowledge of the earlier case told The Standard.

Thea Hopkins was arrested and charged Thursday with assault and elder abuse, the District Attorney’s Office said. She allegedly attacked a 71-year-old woman on Monday in the Bayview neighborhood “without provocation” by grabbing her hair, punching her several times and throwing her to the ground. The victim, prosecutors said, speaks only Chinese.

Hopkins remains in jail pending further court proceedings.

Sources told The Standard that Hopkins was detained and interviewed after Yanfang Wu, 63, a Chinese immigrant, was pushed to death in the Bayview in July 2023.

Initially, the San Francisco Police Department announced a homicide investigation into the case, saying Wu “was approached from behind by an unknown female suspect” and shoved. 

But multiple sources close to the matter later told The Standard that after reviewing the surveillance video, the incident appeared to have been an accident and occurred as the younger woman was rushing to the bus and collided with Wu.

“Based on evidence gathered by investigators, and after exhausting investigative leads, this incident has been deemed an accidental death,” SFPD said in a press release in August. “Unless new evidence emerges, this case will remain closed.”

Sources familiar with the matter said Friday that the department has reopened the case.

The Public Defender’s Office confirmed that the office had been appointed to represent Hopkins in court.

After Wu’s death, her husband decided to return to China.

District Attorney Brooke Jenkins said in a statement that brazen and unprovoked acts of violence against senior citizens will not be tolerated.

“Everyone should be able to walk around our city freely without fear of being viciously attacked,” said Jenkins. “My office will do everything in our power on behalf of this victim.”

Han Li can be reached at