The New York Police Department's Hate Crimes Task Force has released surveillance footage of the attack
hammer attack hate crime
Credit: NYPD Hate Crimes

Two Asian women were attacked in New York City Sunday evening when a person hit one of them in the head with a hammer after telling them to remove their face masks.

The attack was caught on surveillance footage released by the New York Police Department's Hate Crimes Task Force on Monday.

The woman who was struck, a 31-year-old FIT graduate who identified herself only by her first name, Theresa, to ABC 7, was walking with a friend down the sidewalk in Hell's Kitchen when the stranger "demanded they remove their masks," police said.

"She was talking to herself, like talking to a wall, I thought maybe she was drunk or something, so we just wanted to pass through her quickly and when I passed through her, she saw us and said 'Take off your f—— mask,' which is shocking," Theresa told ABC 7.

"Suddenly I felt my head get hit by something," she said.

The video footage shows Theresa and her friend trying to fend off the suspect, but she was struck "in the head with a hammer causing a laceration," police said.

Theresa went to the hospital after the attack, where she received seven stitches, according to ABC 7.

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Theresa had recently returned to New York after staying with her parents in Taiwan during the COVID-19 pandemic and told ABC 7 she now plans on returning.

"My mom actually told me please be careful, there's a lot of Asian crime happening in America," Theresa told ABC 7.

The attack comes amid a rise in anti-Asian hate crimes in the United States and is the third attack in New York over the weekend alone being investigated by the NYPD's Hate Crimes Task Force. CNN reported that a 15-year-old boy and a 52-year-old woman were both attacked on Saturday.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in a statement Tuesday that he was "disgusted" by the attack on Theresa.

"I am disgusted by this violent attack in Midtown Manhattan, the latest seemingly senseless and despicable hate crime against Asian Americans in this state," Cuomo said, per NBC News. "We will do everything in our power to protect those who are vulnerable to these attacks and to hold cowardly perpetrators accountable to the full extent of the law."

The attack in Hell's Kitchen came just hours after NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio condemned the rise in anti-Asian hate crimes, saying at a Stop Asian Hate rally in Queens: "If you hate, get the hell out of here because you don't deserve to live in New York City."

If you've been attacked or have witnessed an attack, please contact your local authorities. You can also report your incident here. 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.