Tea Shop Owner Gets Pepper Sprayed By Man Yelling ‘Chinese’ and ‘COVID-19’ in Washington DC

Valley Brook Tea

A tea shop in Washington, D.C. has become the latest target of a suspected anti-Asian hate crime this week.

Valley Brook Tea, located in Dupont Circle, saw a Black man enter its premises around 9:42 a.m. on Tuesday, only to attack its owner.

Valley Brook Tea. Image via @valleybrooktea

Surveillance footage shows the man yelling “COVID-19” and “Chinese” while entering the store, which just opened that day.

Image Screenshot via @valleybrooktea

Yunhan Zhang, who was standing behind the counter, takes out pepper spray and asks the man to leave, according to WJLA.

Image Screenshot via @valleybrooktea

To Zhang’s horror, the man pulls out his own pepper spray and spritzes it in his direction.

“I got sprayed on my face, arm [and] cloth. Some got into my mouth. I was choking badly when I called 911,” Zhang wrote on Twitter. “I’m not injured. However, the burning has not stopped after hours.”

Zhang says this is the second time he has been targeted by a similar attack. In July, someone slapped him outside the shop and stole some of his belongings.

“It seems we’re the only business that keeps getting harassed and attacked in this neighborhood. We cannot stay in business if this happens on a weekly/monthly basis,” he added.

The Metropolitan Police Department is now investigating the incident as a hate crime. So far, no arrest has been made.

The D.C. Mayor’s Office on Asian and Pacific Islander Affairs also reached out to the tea shop owner to offer support.

“I think the motive is very clear,” Zhang told WUSA. “It’s racially motivated.”

Zhang shared zoomed screenshots of the attacker’s face. Anyone with information related to the incident is urged to call the police at (202) 727-9099.

NextShark has reached out to Zhang for further comment.

Feature Image Screenshots via @valleybrooktea

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