AFTER almost a year of working from home, Danilo Yuchang returned to his company’s office in downtown San Francisco for the first time on Monday, March 15.
At around 1:45 p.m., the 59-year-old travel agent, who also goes by Danny, was walking along Market Street during his lunch break when a man approached him from behind and began punching his head multiple times.
Yuchang said he does not recall the assailant saying anything before the attack.
“I was shoved to the ground and lost consciousness. After a while, I woke up and saw there was a lot of blood on the sidewalk and on my clothes,” Yuchang, who is Filipino and Chinese, told the Asian Journal. “I was hit a lot so my face is so swollen.”
The attack happened near the Four Seasons Hotel and the doorman came to Yuchang’s aid and called 911, he recounted. The suspect reportedly fled on a Muni bus, according to various reports.
Yuchang said his belongings were not stolen and that the police arrived within minutes to get his statement.
He was taken to a nearby hospital where he was treated for head injuries and a cheekbone fracture. His vision is coming back on his right eye, but he said he still cannot see out of the left one.
A day after, he shared his story in an effort to raise awareness of the violence against Asian Americans as he believes his race played a factor in being attacked. He is left traumatized and afraid as he recovers from his bruises and injuries.
“I have to let people know that these things are really happening and send the message that you have the right to speak up,” he said.
The suspect, identified as Jorge Devis-Milton, has been arrested.
Earlier on Monday, the 32-year-old reportedly stabbed a 64-year-old man at 16th and Mission Streets. The victim was taken to the hospital with life-threatening injuries, according to the San Francisco Police Department.
Devis-Milton fled into the 16th and Mission BART Station. He later assaulted Yuchang near 3rd and Market Street, before fleeing the scene.
“Using images caught on surveillance video and descriptions provided by witnesses, SFPD investigators determined that the same suspect was responsible for both unprovoked attacks,” the police said in a statement.
The suspect faces assault with a deadly weapon, two counts of aggravated assault, two counts of battery causing injury and aggravated mayhem.
Yuchang, who migrated to Vallejo from Manila, Philippines 20 years ago, is now seeking to move out of the Bay Area, as he and his wife no longer feel safe.
“Before I felt at home here in San Francisco, but now not so much,” he said. “Emotionally, it’s been a traumatic experience. I’m having a hard time sleeping and resting, and I still haven’t gone out to get my medicine because I’m so afraid.”
Yuchang set up a GoFundMe page, which has raised over $35,000 of its $50,000 goal, as of this writing. He said the funds will help with his recovery and move.
His adult children still live in the Philippines and he said that eventually, he wants to retire there.
Yuchang’s case is among a series of violent crimes against Asian Americans in light of the pandemic. Some of the attacks have resulted in deaths like the case of 84-year-old Vicha Ratanapakdee, who died from injuries after he was knocked on the ground during a morning walk in San Francisco; and 74-year-old Juanito Falcon who sustained a skull fracture injury after he was punched in the face in an unprovoked attack, as previously reported by the Asian Journal.
Stop AAPI Hate, a national coalition that tracks anti-Asian American discrimination, reported on Tuesday, March 16 that from March 19, 2020 to February 28, 2021, it has received 3,795 firsthand incidents of racism and discrimination from all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
Of that number, 503 incidents took place in the first two months of 2021 alone.
Chinese are the largest ethnic group (42.2%) that say they’ve experienced hate, followed by Koreans (14.8%), Vietnamese (8.5%) and Filipinos (7.9%), Stop AAPI Hate found.
Members of the AAPI community who have experienced hate during the pandemic are encouraged to report the incident at https://stopaapihate.org/reportincident. In addition to English, individuals can report in one of 11 languages, including Tagalog.