The family of a 76-year-old Chinese woman who fought back after being punched in the face in an unprovoked attack in San Francisco said Monday that she was recovering from her injuries and would donate the $900,000 raised on a GoFundMe page to “combat racism.” (The stated goal of the page was $50,000.)
“Her eye is no longer swelled to the point of not being able to open it. She is now starting to feel optimistic again and is in better spirits,” Xiao Zhen Xie’s grandchildren wrote Monday on the GoFundMe page that had originally been started to cover the woman’s medical expenses. “She said we must not [submit] to racism and we must fight to the death if necessary.”
The March 17 attack attracted national attention amid a series of racially motivated incidents against Asian Americans.
San Francisco police have identified the suspect in the attack as 39-year-old Steven Jenkins. According to local television station KPIX, the 76-year-old Xie was leaning on a traffic pole waiting on the light when Jenkins punched her. Witnesses say Xie responded by picking up a piece of wood she found on the street and hitting her attacker with it, yelling, “You bum, why did you hit me?” in Chinese, according to USA Today.
Video from the scene showed Jenkins handcuffed on a stretcher with a bloodied face. Xie applied a bag of her ice to the black eyes she sustained.
Police say that Jenkins was the perpetrator in a separate elderly attack of 83-year-old Vietnamese man, Ngoc Pham, who was shopping for groceries in the area. Pham sustained cuts, bruises and a fractured nose.
Jenkins was booked on two counts of assault likely to produce great bodily injury, and two counts of elder abuse. San Francisco police say they are investigating the attacks to determine whether they were racially motivated.
According to her family, Xie has been afflicted with PTSD from the traumatic event, but has “stated multiple times” she wants to donate the funds “to the Asian American community to combat racism.”
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