Suspect Arrested in N.Y.C. Attack on Asian Woman Was on Parole After Murdering His Mom in 2002
Authorities in New York City have arrested the man who allegedly fractured an Asian woman's pelvis in an unprovoked attack Monday morning, and confirm the suspect was released from prison in 2019 — 17 years after he was convicted of fatally stabbing his own mother.
NYPD sources tell PEOPLE 38-year-old Brandon Elliot is being held on two counts of assault as a hate crime and single counts of attempted assault as a hate crime, assault, and attempted assault.
Elliot was on lifelong parole following his release from prison in November 2019.
Sources confirm to PEOPLE that Elliot had been residing in a hotel that had been converted into homeless housing amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
That hotel, they say, is located close to West 43rd Street and Ninth Avenue, where the attack occurred.
The sources say detectives are certain Elliot is the same individual seen in surveillance footage violently kicking a 65-year-old woman to the ground in midtown Manhattan just before noon on Monday.
The woman, who was on her way to church when she was attacked, suffered a pelvic fracture.
Elliot also allegedly stomped on the victim's head several times before fleeing the scene.
The sources tell PEOPLE Elliot made remarks during the attack, suggesting the victim was targeted for being Asian.
The woman was released from the hospital on Tuesday.
Elliot was only 19-years-old in July 2002 when sources say he stabbed his mother to death inside her Bronx home.
He was convicted of his mother's murder, and was sentenced to 15 years to life in prison.
In surveillance footage of Monday's assault, obtained by WABC-TV, it appears there were several eyewitnesses to the attack. None came to the victim's aid.
At one point, it appears that someone inside the building where the surveillance video originated purposely closes an open door on the woman before walking away from her.
The Brodsky Organization, which manages that building, said in a statement it had suspended the staff members who witnessed the attack and did nothing.
In the statement, the company said it "condemns all forms of violence, racism, xenophobia, and violence against the Asian American community." The company added not is investigating the staffers' apparent inaction and working to identify a "third-party vendor present during the incident so that appropriate action can be taken."
During a press conference Tuesday, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio decried the attack as "absolutely disgusting and outrageous."
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The mayor also chided the seemingly apathetic eyewitnesses who looked the other way, saying it is "absolutely unacceptable" no one intervened.
"I don't care who you are, I don't care what you do, you've got to help your fellow New Yorker," de Blasio said.
Elliot has not entered pleas to the charges he faces, and does not have an attorney of record who could comment on the allegations.
The attack occurred amid a rise in violence against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, including the March 16 shootings at three Atlanta-area spas that killed eight people, six of whom were Asian women.
A recent report from the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University, San Bernardino, found that anti-Asian hate crimes increased 150 percent in 2020 in America's 16 largest cities, despite overall hate crimes dropping 7 percent in those cities.
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.