Authorities arrested a man who they say is suspected of stabbing two Asian women without warning in downtown San Francisco on Tuesday.
Officers were sent to 4th and Stockton streets shortly before 5 p.m. and found the wounded women, who were taken to a hospital, according to The Associated Press. There was no immediate word on their conditions.
Witnesses told KPIX-TV that a man clutching a knife was walking down Market Street when he approached a bus stop, stabbed the women, and then walked away.
Police didn’t immediately indicate whether the women were specifically targeted or whether the attack might be a hate crime.
Matt Haney, a representative on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, expressed outrage Tuesday over the incident.
“Disgusting and horrific attack on Market St this afternoon of two Asian seniors,” he said on Twitter. “I’ve been closely in touch with the SFFD and SFPD. The suspect was just arrested. The victims are at the hospital. #StopTheAttacks #StopAsianHate.”
Asian Americans have been the target of several unprovoked attacks in the San Francisco Bay Area and in other parts of the country in recent months. The attacks are believed to stem mainly from misguided anger about the coronavirus pandemic, which originated in China.
Anti-Asian hashtags soaredafter Donald Trump first tied COVID-19 to China on Twitter, study shows
Former President Donald Trump frequently drew widespread criticism for anti-Chinese rhetoric. Anti-Asian bias and attacks have grown exponentially over the past year in conjunction with this rhetoric.
Asian Americans made up roughly 6.7 million people in California in 2019, by far the nation’s largest, according to the Pew Research Center.
Just this past weekend, two Asian women were attacked in New York City by a stranger who demanded they remove their masks before striking one in the head with a hammer, police said.
In March, the organization Stop AAPI Hate — founded last year in response to increased targeting of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders during the pandemic — said it had received reports of nearly 3,800 hate incidents in a year and estimated that was only a fraction of the actual number.
The Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at Cal State San Bernardino found a 164% increase in reports of anti-Asian hate crimes in the first quarter of 2021 versus last year in 16 cities and jurisdictions across the country.
Contributing: The Associated Press