Asian Woman in Calif. Allegedly Attacked by Stranger Turns the Tables on Him, Fights Back with Bat

An elderly woman who was attacked in San Francisco Wednesday fought back against her assailant with a wooden bat. 

The attack on 76-year-old Xiao Zhen Xie on Market Street occurred around 10:30 a.m. while she was standing at a traffic light. She said a man came up to her and punched her by her left eye. Despite her injuries, Xie fought back, and picked up a wooden board and hit her assailant, she told KPIX5 through a translator. 

Xie said the attack was completely unprovoked. 

Her alleged assailant, identified by police as 39-year-old Stephen Jenkins, was taken to the hospital for "a prior medical condition," states a San Francisco police press release, and later arrested.

Police said the suspect had been badly beat up prior to his alleged attack on Xie. 

"The guy was badly beaten in a previous assault," San Francisco Police Department spokesperson Matt Dorsey tells PEOPLE. That attack occurred about 30 minutes before. 

Police said they are investigating to determine if race was a factor in the attack. 

"It is an active investigation and we have no information to confirm any possible motivations at this time," says Dorsey. 

Xiao Zhen Xie spoke to KPIX5 with her daughter Dong-Mei Li, helping to translate. 

"Very traumatized, very scared and this eye is still bleeding," she said. "The right eye still cannot see anything and (is) still bleeding and we have something to absorb the bleeding."

Meanwhile, Xiao Zhen Xie's grandson has set up a GoFundMe page to help pay for her mounting medical bills.

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"I am amazed by her bravery," John Chen wrote. "She was the one that defended herself from this unprovoked attack."

Chen said his grandmother has two black eyes, one of which continues to bleed, and a swollen wrist. 

"She has been severely affected mentally, physically, and emotionally," he wrote. "She also stated that she is afraid to step out of her home from now on. This traumatic event has left her with PTSD."

Chen said his grandmother is a cancer survivor and has diabetes. "My heart is with all the other elderly Asians that has also been seriously injured or killed in this wave of attacks towards the Asian community," he wrote. 

Jenkins has been charged with two counts of assault likely to produce great bodily injury and two counts of elder abuse. It was not immediately clear if he has entered a plea or retained an attorney to comment on his behalf.

To learn more and to report crimes, go to: Asian Americans Advancing Justice, Stop the AAPI Hate, National Council of Asian Pacific Americans, Asian Americans Advancing Justice-LA, and Asian Pacific Policy & Planning Council.

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