Elderly Asian woman paralyzed after being stabbed in the neck in her Long Beach liquor store

yongja lee
  • Yongja Lee, 65, was stabbed in the neck while working at her liquor store in Long Beach, California, on Jan. 30.
  • The business owner is expected to require long-term care since the attack left her paralyzed from the neck down and unable to speak.
  • Police described her assailant as a Black male, standing at 6 feet and 2 inches and weighing around 200 pounds.
  • A customer set up a GoFundMe page to help raise funds for Lee’s medical expenses.

An elderly Asian woman has suffered paralysis after being stabbed in the neck in her own liquor store in Long Beach, Calif., on Jan. 30.

The attack, which was caught on surveillance video, reportedly left 65-year-old Yongja Lee paralyzed from the neck down and unable to speak.

The Long Beach Police Department described her assailant as a Black male, standing 6 feet and 2 inches (188 centimeters), weighing 200 pounds (91 kilograms), and with brown eyes. They said he was on foot when he fled the scene in the 900 block of East Broadway.

The video at Frank’s Liquor showed the suspect walking up to Lee, who had her hands “raised protectively,” according to the Los Angeles Times. After a short exchange, he allegedly stabbed her at the base of the neck.

The incident came just after Lee and her husband had found someone to buy their store. The couple, who had 14-hour work days and no vacation for decades, was about to retire.

“I am an only child,” their daughter, Ellyn, told the Times. “She’s [Lee] like my best friend. It just hurts so much. Now I have to read her lips.”

Lee sustained a spinal cord injury from the stabbing. She is expected to require long-term care, which her family plans to finance through Medi-Cal.

Kevin Voravong, a customer, set up a GoFundMe page to help raise funds for Lee’s medical expenses. He recalled her as a “mama” who took care of the neighborhood.

“She always laughed with and cared for me and my friends, offering and feeding us food,” Voravong wrote. “She would be cooking for her own dinners in the back of their store.”

Voravong said updates on Lee’s condition are underway. As of this writing, his campaign has raised $11,665.

Lee’s assailant was last seen wearing a red Adidas tracksuit. Anyone with information is urged to call Long Beach Police Dispatch at (562) 435-6711 or the Long Beach Police Violent Crimes Detail at (562) 570-7250.

Featured Image via Kevin Voravong

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