May 6 (UPI) -- A man in San Francisco was charged with stabbing two elderly Asian women at a bus stop, but the attack has not yet been determined a hate crime.
The San Francisco Police Department said late Wednesday that Patrick Thompson, 54, was arrested about two hours after he stabbed the women, age 84 and 63, as they waited for a bus in the city's downtown, NPR reported.
Chui Fong, the 85-year-old victim, had been shopping for groceries in San Francisco's Chinatown the afternoon of the stabbing.
Her grandson, only identified by his first name, Drew, said his grandmother is "independent, very headstrong," San Francisco's KGO-TV reported late Wednesday.
"If she has to do something she's going to. That's just her," Drew said.
Patricia Lee, an eyewitness at a nearby flower stand, said Thompson pulled out a "pretty big knife."
"It had knuckles on the handle and the blade had holes in there like a military knife," Lee said.
Drew said the knife "nicked" his grandmother's lung and rib cage. Fong was rushed to a hospital. After four hours of surgery, Drew said he was told his grandmother was expected to survive.
Victoria Eng, Fong's granddaughter, said Fong is recovering, according to NPR.
"These Asian hate crimes need to stop," Eng said. "San Francisco is my home and my Grandma's home. We need to feel safe where we live and not in constant fear."
Violent attacks against Chinese and other Asian Americans have skyrocketed in the United States in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. According to new research from the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at Cal State University San Bernardino, hate crimes in the 16 biggest cities and counties in the country are up 164% year-on-year, CNN reported Wednesday.
Brian Levin, the center's director, attributed the rise in crimes in 2021 to "highly charged debates about masks, vaccines and the economy."
"Even though President Biden is providing leadership from the bully pulpit, there are still many that have already embraced...conspiracies and derisive stereotypes about Asians," Levin told CNN.