New York, NY – A parolee who served 17 years for murdering his own mother was arrested for hate crimes on Tuesday in the attack on an elderly Asian woman in Hell’s Kitchen on Monday.
Police said that 38-year-old Brandon Elliott was identified by area residents as a local homeless person not long after the New York Police Department (NYPD) posted the images of the attacker that were captured by security videos, WABC reported.
Multiple tips to Crimestoppers directed police to a hotel that has been functioning as a homeless shelter on West 40th Street.
Detectives watched the hotel and neighborhood all day on March 30 and took Elliott into custody in the evening, WABC reported.
Records showed that Elliott stabbed his mother to death in 2002 when he was 19 years old and was sent to prison.
He was released on lifetime parole in 2019, WABC reported.
Indoor and outdoor surveillance cameras captured Elliott’s unprovoked attack on a 65-year-old Asian woman on Monday while several people stood by watching and did nothing to help her.
The incident occurred at about 11:40 a.m. on March 29 in front of a building located at 360 West 43rd Street and was captured on security cameras, WNYW reported.
The surveillance video filmed the moment the 65-year-old woman walked past the glass doors to the building and encountered her attacker.
The video showed the woman stopped suddenly, and a man walked into the video frame toward her from the opposite direction and kicked her in the stomach.
The elderly woman stumbled back and then fell to the sidewalk, the video showed.
And then the security footage showed her attacker stomped on her three times before he casually crossed the street and walked away as if nothing had happened.
Authorities said Elliott yelled “F—k you. You don’t belong here!” at the woman as he assaulted her, WABC reported.
Witnesses said someone chased Elliott down and confronted him, but the suspect pulled a knife on the good Samaritan and fled.
The woman was seriously injured and had to be hospitalized, WNYW reported.
While the elderly woman was being attacked, security cameras inside the lobby of the building showed that employees – including security guards – stood and watched as the Asian woman was beaten on the sidewalk.
The video showed they did nothing except watch, and that after the attacker walked away, one of the employees walked over and shut the front door of the building instead of going outside and rendering aid to the woman who was still on the ground.
The security video showed the woman was trying to get to her knees as the security guard shut the door and walked away as if nothing had happened without offering her any assistance.
“The victim sustained a serious physical injury and was removed by EMS to NYU Langone Hospital,” NYPD said in a statement, NBC News reported.
The elderly woman sustained a fractured pelvis and a head injury as a result of the attack, WABC reported.
She was released from the hospital late on Tuesday.
The Brodsky Organization is the developer who manages the building that the attack occurred in front of, WNYW reported.
Brodsky put out a statement on the company’s Instagram late Monday night that addressed the “violent assault” captured on video.
“The staff who witnessed the attack have been suspended pending an investigation in conjunction with their union,” the Brodsky Organization posted.
They said they were also working to identify a delivery person who was present during the attack.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio questioned why the security guard ignored the attack, WABC reported.
“A security guard standing nearby and not intervening, absolutely unacceptable,” de Blasio said. “I don’t care who you are, I don’t care what you do, you got to help your fellow New Yorker.”
The union disputed the characterizations of what happened, WABC reported.
Service Employees International Union Local 32BJ President Kyle Bragg said the building’s door staff “called for help immediately.”
Bragg urged the public “to avoid a rush to judgment while the facts are determined,” WABC reported.
But NYPD Detective Michael Rodriguez told reporters on Wednesday that according to the system’s records, nobody called 911 to report the attack or seek help for the victim, the New York Post reported.
Det. Rodriguez said the victim was found by officers who happened to be driving by and spotted her down on the sidewalk.
“They came upon the victim after she was assaulted,” he said.
The New York Police Department’s (NYPD) Hate Crimes Task Force was investigating the incident, WNYW reported.
NYPD said there have been 33 hate crimes against Asians in New York City so far this year.
“This last attack very disturbing,” NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea told reporters on Tuesday. “It’s really disgusting when you see the video…. You try to make sense of it, and you can’t. I don’t know who attacks a 65-year-old woman and leaves her on the street like that.”
Commissioner Shea said NYPD had increased patrols, including undercover officers, on March 26 in Asian American communities, WABC reported.
“We are putting heavy uniformed presence, that’s the bulk of the resources,” he said. “Those are going into predominantly Asian communities in New York City: Flushing, Chinatown, parts of Sunset Park, Brooklyn. But really through the transit system. It’s all over.”
“That’s the thing as we start coming out of Passover and now into Muslim high holy days and thinking of things of this sort,” the police commissioner continued. “An attack on one group is an attack on all, and that’s the thing we have to keep enforcing here. Whether it’s anti-Black, anti-Asian, anti-Muslim, anti-Semitic, anti-LGBTQ, when New Yorkers come together and just say enough is enough, I think we are getting in the right direction.”
Security cameras mounted outside the building captured clear images of the man who attacked the elderly Asian woman.
Elliott was charged with two counts of assault as a hate crime and one count each of attempted assault as a hate crime, assault, and attempted assault, NBC News reported.