(WASHINGTON) — The suspect who allegedly hit an Asian woman in the head with a hammer earlier this month has been arrested.
Ebony Jackson, 37, who officials describe as a homeless woman, was arrested on Wednesday on charges of assault, criminal possession of a weapon and menacing, the New York Police Department said.
The NYPD’s Hate Crime Task Force is investigating the incident and the probe is ongoing.
Two Asian females, aged 31 and 29, were walking on a sidewalk at 411 W. 42nd Street on May 2 around 8:40 p.m. when the suspect demanded they remove their masks and struck the 31-year-old in the head with a hammer, police said. The victim suffered a laceration to the head and was hospitalized.
"She was talking to herself, like talking to a wall. I thought maybe she was drunk or something," the victim, who only wanted to be identified by her first name Theresa, told ABC New York station WABC-TV. "So we just wanted to pass through her quickly. She saw us and said 'Take off your f----- mask.'"
Theresa, who moved to New York in 2019 to study for a master's degree at the Fashion Institute of Technology, told the station the attack has left her traumatized and shaken.
After the pandemic started, she went to Taiwan to stay with her parents and had just returned to New York last month to look for a job, WABC-TV reported.
"My mom actually told me please be careful, there's a lot of Asian crime happening in America," Theresa said.
The NYPD has reported 81 total anti-Asian hate crimes in 2021 through May 9, a rise from 17 reported by this month last year.
Stop AAPI Hate, a group that tracks bias incidents against Asians, reported more than 6,600 hate incidents from the start of the COVID-19 pandemic through March 31.