NYC man who attacked 7 Asian women in 3 hours charged with hate crimes

Image: New York Police Department; CBS News
  • Steven Zajonc, 28, has been indicted on felony and misdemeanor hate crime charges for attacking seven Asian women on Feb. 27, Manhattan prosecutors said on Monday.
  • The attacks reportedly began at around 6:30 p.m. near Madison Avenue and East 30th Street in Midtown and ended near Broadway and East 8th Street between 8:30 p.m. and 9 p.m.
  • During his anti-Asian spree, Zajonc either punched, elbowed or shoved his victims, all of whom sustained injuries, according to reports.
  • Zajonc’s mother claimed that he has struggled with mental health issues for years and was committed under Florida’s Mental Health Act of 1971.
  • He is being held on Rikers Island on a $50,000 bond and will return to court on July 18.

A man accused of assaulting seven Asian women in Manhattan in late February has been indicted on felony and misdemeanor hate crime charges, the District Attorney’s Office announced on Monday.

Steven Zajonc, 28, made national headlines over a series of unprovoked attacks on Feb. 27, which left all seven victims injured. He struck his first victim at around 6:30 p.m. near Madison Avenue and East 30th Street in Midtown, and his final attack occurred near Broadway and East 8th Street between 8:30 p.m. and 9 p.m, according to reports.

Zajonc was accused of either punching, elbowing or shoving his victims. Speaking to local news program “8 On Your Side,” his mother claimed that he has struggled with mental health issues for years and was committed under Florida’s Mental Health Act of 1971 while he lived in the state. She also claimed “he appreciated [Asian] culture” and even planned to learn Japanese.

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Zajonc is now facing a total of 13 charges, including six felony counts of third-degree assault and seven misdemeanor counts of second-degree aggravated harassment. All charges were classified as hate crimes.

“These attacks on seven New York women, each fueled by anti-Asian hate, are yet another sobering reminder of the demonstrable fears AAPI communities, particularly AAPI women, in our City continue to face,” Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg said in a press release. “As alleged, within just three hours, Steven Zajonc selectively ambushed seven Asian women in separate assaults, some of which he struck from behind – for no other reason than their perceived race.”

The District Attorney’s Office is currently investigating 27 anti-Asian hate crime cases. Victims and witnesses are encouraged to speak up.

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“My Office is a safe place to report crimes regardless of your immigration status,” Bragg said. “If you have been a victim or witness to a hate crime or bias incident, please call our Hate Crimes Hotline at 212-335-3100.”

Zajonc, who was arrested on March 2, is being held on Rikers Island on a $50,000 bond. He will return to court on July 18.

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