A Cambodian American woman is left traumatized after falling victim to a violent robbery outside a supermarket in San Leandro, California, earlier this month.
Emily Chhun, 26, had just returned to her car after buying some snacks at a Safeway on Washington Avenue when the horror unfolded.
“I closed the door already and didn’t notice that there was someone behind me,” Chhun told NBC Bay Area of the May 11 incident.
Her assailant, whom Chhun described as a “heavyset man in his 40s with shoulder-length hair,” allegedly carried a pistol and a stick. He allegedly punched and pistol-whipped her immediately.
The perp then snatched Chhun’s purse, which contained her cash, ID, credit cards and keys.
“By that time I couldn’t think of anything else because he has a gun,” Chhun told NBC Bay Area. “And then I realized that, oh, I got robbed. But then, I begged him, like ‘please, please, take whatever you want. Please don’t kill me,’ I told him.”
But the man was not done. After seeing that Chhun only had $50, Chunn said the man struck her in the head again with his pistol.
Chhun was knocked unconscious and left with a bloodied face. The suspect allegedly fled shortly after.
A bystander reportedly called 911. Chhun was then taken to a hospital, where she was found to have suffered a concussion and a broken nose.
Chhun has remained in shock after the horrifying experience.
“I was so scared. Right now I really want to go back to see my mom in Cambodia. When I talk about the incident, it makes me feel still in shock,” she told KTVU.
Community members gathered outside the Safeway store on May 15 to protest against Asian hate and demand justice for Chhun.
“It’s no hate, we all gotta come together. As individuals, we are all human beings in life,” Kelly Mean, one of the organizers, told KTVU. “Why hurt somebody else and rob somebody else?”
The attack has since made news in Cambodia, with citizens calling for Americans to stop discrimination. Some expressed concerns for loved ones or friends living in the U.S.
“I have a sister who lives in Minnesota and she always gives me financial support, because I have no job. If my sister has a problem, I will also have a problem,” Phnom Penh resident Uy Pov, 60, told Khmer Times.
He added, “We love and treat all Americans who come to Cambodia very well. So, we hope Americans will also love and treat Cambodians the same way.”
Ashley Chung has organized a GoFundMe page to help raise money for Chhun’s medical bills. As of this writing, the campaign has collected $15,521.
“She currently resides in California with no family members in the country and has little funds to cover the medical expenses needed for her recovery,” Chung wrote.
“Emily wants people to be aware that these kinds of armed robberies of people inside their cars are becoming more common and that everyone should lock their doors immediately after getting in.”
Chhun has also described her assailant as having shoulder-length hair. San Leandro police are currently not investigating the incident as a hate crime.
Featured Image via GoFundMe