A pair of Good Samaritans came to the aid of two elderly Asian pedestrians being attacked in broad daylight in Brooklyn, New York earlier this week.
The incident, which quickly became physical, occurred outside a supermarket on 25th Avenue and 86th Street around noon on Tuesday.
A passerby, who wished to remain anonymous, claimed that the male suspect approached the victims, intimidated them and yanked the shopping bags from their arms.
When he tried to intervene, the suspect turned his attention to him and appeared to pull an object out of his pocket.
“He got angry at me and asked who the f*** you are,” the passerby told NBC New York. “I ran, I ran across the street.”
That’s when a Metropolitan Transport Authority (MTA) bus driver — who was on his break — stepped in to help. The passerby called the police.
This time, the driver became the suspect’s target. The latter allegedly punched and even spit on the driver.
The suspect tried to flee the scene but was eventually arrested. He was identified as Donovan Lawson, 26.
Lawson was charged with assault-hate crime, aggravated harassment, menacing and harassment, according to the Brooklyn Reporter.
He is also expected to undergo a psychiatric evaluation, as he seemed “emotionally disturbed” during the incident.
“I believe the individual may have been taken for a psychiatric evaluation as well, which may signal another failure of our mental health system,” Councilmember Mark Treyger said in a statement. “Regardless, Asian Americans are entitled to live in peace in our community without fearing being assaulted and called racist names while walking in their own neighborhood.”
The official added, “There is no tolerance for hate in our community and we must all step up and protect our Asian American brothers and sisters.”
After sustaining minor injuries, bus driver Tommy Lau is said to be in stable condition at Coney Island Hospital.
“I figured I gotta get involved because these are my people,” Lau, who has been with the MTA for 22 years, told CBS New York.
He recalled the incident, “I tell him [suspect], ‘What’s up?’ Next thing I know, he spat in my face. He struck me with his right hand to my left temple really hard.”