A man in Yonkers, New York was arrested for attempted murder after he punched an Asian woman 125 times and called her a racial slur, police said.
The 67-year-old victim was entering her apartment building on Friday evening when the perpetrator, whom police identified as 42-year-old Tammel Esco, saw her and called her an “Asian bitch”, Yonkers police said.
The assault was captured on surveillance video, which has been widely shared online.
The victim ignored the comment, went into the vestibule of the building and tried to open the second door to the lobby. Esco approached her from behind, punched her head, knocked her to the floor, stood over her and punched her in the head and face repeatedly. He also stomped on her seven times and spat on her, police said.
The victim, who was not identified, suffered multiple contusions and lacerations to her head and face and bleeding on the brain. Admitted to hospital, she was listed in stable condition.
A witness said she called 911.
“I started knocking on the door, and when I did that it caught his attention, and that’s when he got off of her,” Yvette Crespo told NBC New York. “He went out that door, went to the corner [and] put his hands up.”
When police arrived, they found and arrested Esco without incident. He was charged with one count of attempted murder as a hate crime and assault in the second degree involving a victim 65 or older.
Some tenants said the suspect was a building resident. One told ABC 7: “I had an altercation with him, me not physically, but something he did to my granddaughter. I don’t understand how he came back out here after he did what he did. He stalked her and threw her through that window over there.”
According to Yonkers police, Esco has 14 previous arrests, half on felony charges. In February 2021, he pushed a woman through a plate glass window and was given conditional discharge with no jail time. In 2011, he was convicted of assault and sentenced to three years in prison. He was released on parole after two and a half years.
“This is one of the most appalling attacks I have ever seen; to beat a helpless woman is despicable and targeting her because of her race makes it more so,” said the Yonkers police commissioner, John Mueller.
“This defendant must be held to the maximum punishment allowed by law to send a clear message that hateful, violent behavior will not be tolerated in our communities.”
The Yonkers mayor, Mike Spano, said: “Hate crimes are beyond intolerable in our city … I expect the suspect to be charged to the fullest extent of the law for his heinous actions. I continue to keep the victim and her family in our thoughts and prayers.”
Esco was being held without bail at the Westchester county jail.
The attack comes amid reports of increasing attacks on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in and around New York. According to data compiled by the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism, anti-AAPI hate crime was up 339% across the US last year.