A man has been arrested in the violent attack on a 91-year-old man in Oakland’s Chinatown after the community came together to seek justice, including actors Daniel Dae Kim and Daniel Wu, who together offered $25,000 to whoever has information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the perpetrator – banded together to seek justice.
Yahya Muslim, 28, was arrested in connection with the attacks Monday afternoon, Oakland Police Chief LeRonne Armstrong announced. He is charged with assault and elder abuse, along with three special allegations including great bodily harm, violent crime on the vulnerable and offense while on bail.
Muslim is currently being held in the Santa Rita Jail, and does not have an upcoming court date or bail amount listed, according to the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office.
He was arrested on unrelated charges on Feb. 1 and allegedly committed the crime while out on bail for his previous offense. Muslim also has two prior felony assault convictions, according to the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office.
The 91-year-old man was walking outside the Asian Resource Center in Oakland’s Chinatown when surveillance footage captured a hooded suspect come up behind him and brutally shove him to the pavement, hitting his head. The elderly man remained on the pavement for several seconds.
“The number of hate crimes against Asian Americans continues to skyrocket, despite our repeated pleas for help,” Kim wrote on Instagram. “We must do more to help the literally thousands of Americans who have suffered at the hands of this absolutely senseless violence.”
Muslim is also accused of assaulting two other people that same day, KPIX reported. Oakland Police said in a statement that the same suspect went on to approach a 60-year-old man and later a 55-year-old woman.
“The suspect pushed both victims to the ground, resulting in the woman losing consciousness,” authorities said. “The man also suffered injury. Both victims were treated at a local hospital for their injuries.”
“We have quite a few incidents every single day,” Carl Chan, the president of the Oakland Chinatown Chamber of Commerce, told The San Francisco Chronicle. “So many people are afraid.”
Chan said that business owners reported more than 20 assaults and robberies in the span of a few days, but estimates the actual number may be higher as some business owners fear reporting incidents will lead to a loss in business.
The incident is part of a growing trend of crimes and discriminations against Asian Americans across the United States since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, advocates and members of the community say.
Nearly 2,000 hate crimes against Asian Americans were reported from the beginning of the outbreak to August 2020 across 46 states and one in three Asian Americans reported witnessing individuals blame Asian Americans for the spread, according to research by McKinsey.
In New York, authorities with the NYPD’s Asian Hate Crime Task Force told Inside Edition Digital that there were 24 incidents in which members of the Asian American community were targeted in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, including an attack over the summer where an 89-year-old woman was set ablaze in Brooklyn. Nineteen of the incidents have seen arrests made.
“We’ve been hurting,” Patrick Mock, an outspoken voice in New York City’s Chinatown, told Inside Edition Digital. “We need the power of unity and the power of community. Neighbor helping neighbor, community helping community.”