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SF Police Arrest Suspect Accused of Assaulting 2 Asian Seniors

A man accused of attacking two elderly Asians in San Francisco will remain locked up until his next court hearing, a judge decided Friday.

The judge said he is too concerned about public safety to allow homeless suspect Steven Jenkins to take to the streets. The judge ordered a psychological evaluation to find out what kinds of mental health problems, if any, Jenkins might have.

Jenkins’ only ally in court on Friday was San Francisco deputy public defender Eric McBurney, who happens to be Asian-American and said he has no problem defending his client.

“People ask me the same kind of question: Does it bother you that Asians are being attacked and you represent this person? It’s not like that,” McBurney said.?

McBurney has read the national headlines and seen haunting images of Knoc Pham, 83, and Xiao Zhen Zie, 75, taken after the attacks. Their faces are black and blue after Jenkins allegedly hit them without provocation.

McBurney said it is still too early to call these attacks hate crimes.

I have the idea that Mr. Jenkins is struggling,” McBurney

“I don’t know what happened, but I have the idea that Mr. Jenkins is struggling,” McBurney said.

After his conversation with Jenkins, McBurney believes that mental illness is likely to blame.

“Seventy percent of our clients are homeless and mentally ill at the same time,” McBurney said.


Upon learning the ages of the victims, the judge said he was extremely concerned about public safety and denied Jenkins bail. Meanwhile, McBurney is asking the public to withhold judgment from him and await the results of a psychological evaluation.

Jenkins faces charges of assault, battery and elder abuse. His next court date is scheduled for Tuesday.

Arrested and Charges

San Francisco police said Thursday they had arrested a 39-year-old man accused of assaulting two elderly Asians.

The victims, a 75-year-old woman and an 83-year-old man, were rushed to hospital with non-life-threatening injuries following the assaults on Wednesday morning, police said.

Police said both assaults are believed to have been unprovoked. Researchers are trying to find out if racial bias was a motivating factor.

The robberies occurred around 10 a.m. in the area of ​​7th and Market streets, according to police.



The attacks occurred around 10 a.m. March 17 near the United Nations Square.

Jenkins faces two counts of assault likely to result in serious bodily injury and two counts of elder abuse, according to a news release Heavy received by email from the San Francisco Police Department. He was booked into the San Francisco County Jail.


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Witnesses told police that the suspect, Steven Jenkins, was involved in a physical altercation at UN Plaza approximately 30 minutes prior to the two robberies. After that altercation, Jenkins approached the 83-year-old man and assaulted him.

A security guard who learned of the assault chased Jenkins on foot, police said. As Jenkins fled, he assaulted the 75-year-old woman.

The security guard managed to arrest Jenkins and hold him until police officers arrived.

Jenkins was taken to a hospital for treatment for an unrelated medical condition, police said. He was later charged with two counts of assault likely to result in serious bodily injury and two counts of elder abuse.

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