What to Know
- A suspect was arrested in connection with a string of more than a half-dozen anti-Asian attacks in Manhattan in a one-day span
- The 28-year-old man initially barricaded himself in the New York Public Library in midtown Manhattan but was later apprehended
- Steven Zajonc was taken to the 7th precinct -- the headquarters of the NYPD Hate Crimes Task Force
The suspect believed to be responsible for a string of more than a half-dozen anti-Asian attacks in Manhattan in a single day was arrested and charged Wednesday — after he barricaded himself inside the New York Public Library in midtown, two law enforcement sources familiar with the matter said.
Steven Zajonc was taken to the 7th precinct, the headquarters of the NYPD Hate Crimes Task Force. The 28-year-old Manhattan resident was charged with seven counts each of assault as a hate crime, attempted assault as a hate crime, aggravated harassment and harassment.
According to police, the anti-Asian crime spree took place Feb. 27 and resulted in seven separate incidents.
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The first incident was reported that day at around 6:30 p.m. in the area of Madison Avenue and East 30 Street, police said. Allegedly, Zajonc approached a 57-year-old Asian woman and struck her in the face with a closed fist without provocation before fleeing.
The second incident took place just 10 minutes later in the vicinity of 5 Avenue and East 30 Street, according to police. It was at that time when Zajonc approached a 25-year-old Asian woman and punched her in the face and the back of her arm, once again, in an unprovoked attack, police said. He fled on Madison Avenue towards East 30 Street on foot.
Five minutes later, in the Flatiron District, a report came in that an unknown man approached a 21-year-old Asian woman near the area of Park Avenue South and East 23 Street and, in an unprovoked attack, punched her in the face. Five minutes after this incident, another report came in of the man punching a fourth Asian woman near Irving Place and East 17th Street before running away.
At around 7:05 p.m. Zajonc was at it again, according to police, this time in the vicinity of Union Square East and East 17 Street. It was at this location that he elbowed a 19-year-old woman in the face and fled.
The sixth incident was reported at around 7:25 p.m. in East Houston and Mott streets. The 25-year-old Asian woman was also elbowed in the mouth in an unprovoked attack.
The seventh incident was reported at 8:37 p.m. in the area of Broadway and 8th Street and involved Zajonc shoving a 20-year-old Asian woman to the ground.
The victims either suffered swelling and redness, lacerations or other minor injuries due to the attacks, police said.
Anyone with additional information in connection to these attacks or others is asked to call the NYPD's Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477) or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782).