San Francisco, CA

Good samaritans stop homeless man's robbery attempt of 80-year-old Asian woman

Golden Gate Media
San Francisco Police arrested a homeless man accused of attacking and trying to rob an Asian woman.Golden Gate Media

An 80-year-old Asian woman was attacked and nearly robbed in San Francisco’s Hayes Valley neighborhood on the morning of May 21. The attacker was detained by a pair of bystanders and held on the ground until police officers arrived.

The attack happened on Gough and Hickory Streets at 9 a.m., according to police. 40-year-old Christopher Nadon was arrested in connection with the incident.

“A homeless man attacked an elderly Asian lady this morning and two heroes held down the perp until the cops arrived to arrest him,” SF Streets 415, a prolific online crime news account, wrote on their Instagram page @sfstreets415. “The heroes are the bald-headed white guy named Paul and a Chinese guy named Jeffrey as Paul tackled the perp and Jeffrey assisted to hold him down. The victim is in the hospital and Jeffrey said it didn’t look good. Prayers for a recovery! This happened on Gough street right in front of the Chinese International American school… Thanks, Paul and Jeffrey for not allowing this man to escape.”

SF Streets 415 shared a series of photographs of the suspect, and bystanders who came to the victim’s aid.

The incident is not being investigated as a hate crime. Recently, attacks against Asians have surged throughout the San Francisco Bay Area.

The organization Stop AAPI Hate has recorded 6,603 incident reports from March 19, 2020 to March 31, 2021.

In its annual report released earlier this year, "verbal harassment (65.2%) and shunning (18.1%) — i.e., the deliberate avoidance of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders — continue to make up the two largest proportions of the total incidents reported."

Stop AAPI Hate added, "physical assault (12.6%) comprises the third-largest category of total reported incidents. Civil rights violations — e.g., workplace discrimination, refusal of service, and being barred from transportation — account for 10.3% of the total incidents. Online harassment makes up 7.3% of total incidents."

Violence and verbal attacks against Asian Americans have been reported throughout many Bay Area cities, including Oakland, San Leandro, Berkeley, San Jose, El Cerrito, Fremont, Union City, Hayward, Redwood City, San Mateo, and other cities. The troubling trend has spurred a campaign calling attention to discrimination with the goal of ending the crimes.

Locals in Hayes Valley said they were troubled after hearing about the attempted robbery of a senior citizen.

“HVSafe and neighbors are very troubled by a recent attack on an Asian woman by a (presumed) unhoused man,” the neighborhood group Hayes Valley Safe wrote. “The incident occurred in broad daylight in front of Live Fit Gym on Gough Street. Witnesses include owners and employees of local businesses, who helped on the scene.”

According to jail records, Nadon is being held on attempted second-degree robbery, inflicting injury on an elderly person, battery, false imprisonment, and kidnapping charges.

He was booked into the county jail at 10:57 a.m. on May 21. A court date has not been set.

“Accountability is paramount to public safety,” HVSafe wrote. “As citizens of San Francisco, we have to ask, ‘why is this behavior acceptable and tolerated?’”

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