An notable uptick in crimes targeting Asian Americans has been observed in California in recent weeks, and sadly, this disturbing trend has just claimed another victim.
Oakland resident Pak Ho, 75, was attacked on the street by robbery suspect and career criminal Teaunte Bailey, 26 and died Thursday of the brain injuries that resulted from the single blow, according to Fox News.
According to Bay Area CBS affiliate KPIX, the brutal attack occurred around 7 a.m. Tuesday near Lake Merritt at the intersection of Perkins Street and Jayne Avenue, with Bailey striking Ho and causing him to fall to the ground and hit his head on the pavement.
Bailey reportedly got into a car and fled the scene, but was subsequently located via surveillance video and a court-ordered GPS ankle monitor he was wearing in connection to another criminal case, and he was found in possession of items stolen from Ho in the assault.
On Thursday, the Alameda County district attorney announced a special circumstances murder charge against Bailey which includes enhanced allegations such as crimes committed while on bail or own recognizance and crimes committed against elders, as KPIX noted.
Reacting to the attack, Oakland Police Chief LeRonne L. Armstrong stated:
I’m at a loss for words. Our elders should be protected not the victim of a deadly assault. I’m thankful that our officers were able to quickly respond…
…The Oakland Police Department will relentlessly pursue those that violate the most vulnerable members in our community.
Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf pledged on Thursday that the police would “investigate thoroughly to determine whether this was racially motivated or a crime of opportunity,” Fox News reported.
Ho’s death comes on the heels of several alarming attacks on Asian Americans in Northern California, including a brutal February assault on a 91-year-old in Oakland’s Chinatown district, a robbery and assault on a Vietnamese woman in San Jose, and a fatal attack on a Thai man in San Francisco, according to USA Today.
The recent crime wave against Asian Americans – which some have attributed to suspicions about the origin of the COVID-19 pandemic – prompted activist Jacob Azevedo to launch an initiative in which he offered to walk with anyone in his community who felt unsafe, particularly the elderly. Hundreds of volunteers have since registered with “Compassion in Oakland” to assist in a broad awareness and outreach effort, as NBC News reported, with the hope of bringing an end to this extremely unsettling series of events.