An Asian woman was injured Sunday night in New York City after being hit on the head with a hammer by a stranger who demanded the woman take off her mask.
The New York Police Department’s Hate Crimes Task Force is investigating the incident, according to NBC News. Police said the attack took place about 8:40 p.m. Sunday on West 42nd Street in Manhattan, in the area known as Hell’s Kitchen.
According to a surveillance video, a black woman came up behind two other women, who were later described as Asian. During the brief confrontation, she hit one in the head with a hammer, police said.
The NYPD said the woman hit was a 31-year-old Asian female. Her companion, a 29-year-old Asian female, was not injured. The victims were able to take the hammer away from their attacker.
The 31-year-old is a recent graduate of the Fashion Institute of Technology, according to WABC-TV.
The woman, who told WABC she only wants to be identified by her first name of Theresa, said she and her friend had been walking together to the subway for safety.
She said the woman accosted them.
“She was talking to herself, like talking to a wall, I thought maybe she was drunk or something, so we just wanted to pass through her quickly and when I passed through her, she saw us and said ‘Take off your f***ing mask,’ which is shocking,” Theresa said.
“Suddenly I felt my head get hit by something.”
The video showed Theresa being hit before she and her friend could get the hammer away from the attacker and leave.
She later needed seven stitches to close the gash on her head.
A bottle of wine Theresa was carrying fell and shattered on the sidewalk during the incident.
“I’ve never faced this kind of thing,” she told NBC, despite living in New York City for two years. “This has never happened in my life.”
A nearby cafe owner saw the incident.
“Some person came along and hit another person over the head with a hammer,” Steve Olsen told WABC. “And there was blood all over the place.”
He said the attack came out of nowhere.
“A drunken woman hit them with a hammer in the head,” he said. “[They] were walking down the sidewalk and she just came up screaming and hit them in the head.
“I saw it happen, with a hammer. She’s long gone.”
The attack came on the same day as a rally aimed at calling attention to hate crimes against Asian-Americans.
“If you hate, get the hell out of here because you don’t deserve to live in New York City,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said at the rally.
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