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NYPD: Suspect charged with hate crime after 55-year-old Asian woman sucker-punched in Chinatown

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    NEW YORK, New York (WCBS) — Police have arrested a man after another violent attack on an Asian woman in the city.

The attack on a crowded sidewalk was caught on camera.

CBS2’s John Dias spoke with one man who watched the scene unfold, and helped police catch the suspect.

“Witnessing it in front of me. I was shocked,” witness Jin Zhen told Dias.

He couldn’t believe his eyes. Monday night, he saw the aftermath, split seconds after an Asian-American woman was punched in the face in what police call an unprovoked attack.

“What I see is a lady, her behind hit the ground, and her back roll into the back of dining structure, and she went unconscious, her eyes closed,” Zhen said.

The assault happened outside a restaurant on Bayard Street in Chinatown. While others ran to her side and called 911, restaurant workers held the suspect in place. Zhen ran to a nearby police precinct for assistance.

“I know the 5th precinct is 300 feet away, so I dashed over,” Zhen said. “I think the best way to keep everyone safe and myself was calling police officer.”

His fast thinking helped authorities quickly arrest 48-year-old Alexander Wright, who has been charged with a number of things, including assault as a hate crime. He’s been in trouble with the law many other times, according to the police commissioner.

“Lives in a shelter, arrested eight times in the last year, randomly assaulting people, setting fires. The guy that was arrested on Friday setting fires. What are we doing in society, we’re releasing these people right back onto the street?” Shea said.

The commissioner says this is when laws intersect with people on the street. He and the mayor agree the city needs to do better.

“We have more work to do with mental health and criminal justice, got to glue them together,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said.

The latest NYPD numbers show that hate crimes against Asians are up 353% in New York City since last year: 86 incidents this year so far, compared to 19 all of last year. With violence rising, so are worries.

“Scared, really scared,” said Chinatown resident Oimui Psang,

“I worry about my parents, they’re old,” said Erian Chao.

Police say the 55-year-old victim is OK. She has already been released from the hospital.

According to the NYPD, what appears to be the drug K2 was found on the suspect. Police say he is undergoing a psychiatric evaluation at the hospital.

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