Man Arrested in Anti-Asian Attack Was on Parole for Killing His Mother

A homeless man who was out on parole for killing his mother was arrested and charged with a hate crime early Wednesday morning in connection with a violent attack on a Filipino immigrant near Times Square, the police said.

The man, Brandon Elliot, 38, was living at a hotel in Midtown Manhattan that has been serving as a homeless shelter, the police said. He was charged with felony assault as a hate crime, attempted assault as a hate crime and separate assault and attempted assault charges.

The police said that Mr. Elliot was the man seen on security footage brutally assaulting Vilma Kari, 65, who was walking down a city street on Monday morning.

The video shows a man police believe to be Mr. Elliot kicking Ms. Kari in the chest outside a luxury apartment building. After she staggers back and collapses onto the sidewalk, he then kicks her repeatedly in the head. A police official said that he then shouted an obscenity at her and said “You don’t belong here.”

Several workers in the building’s lobby were shown in the video appearing to do nothing to intervene, with one man, a security guard, closing the front door to the building after the attack.

The horrifying footage spread widely across social media and in news reports, intensifying the outrage and fear caused by an increasing number of reports of anti-Asian hate crimes across the nation in recent weeks.

Mr. Elliot was convicted of second-degree murder after fatally stabbing his mother, Bridget Johnson, three times in the heart in the Bronx in 2002, when he was 19, according to state records and news reports.

He was sentenced to a minimum of 15 years to life in prison and was released on parole in November 2019, after he had served 16 years, according to state corrections records.

Officers arrested Mr. Elliot on the Lower East Side early Wednesday morning, the police said. It was not immediately clear whether he had a lawyer representing him.

Anti-Asian bias crimes have risen sharply during the pandemic, according to police departments across the country. Many of them have been triggered by people falsely blaming Asian-Americans for spreading the coronavirus.

So far this year, the New York Police Department has investigated 33 anti-Asian attacks as hate crimes, exceeding the 28 it investigated in all of last year. Many of the victims in these cases have been middle-aged men and women who were alone on public transit or, like Ms. Kari, on city streets.

Given the public nature of these attacks, the actions — or inaction — of bystanders have come under particular scrutiny. In the attack on Ms. Kari, the seeming indifference of the employees who worked at the luxury building, at 360 West 43rd Street, drew particular outrage.

The building’s management company, the Brodsky Organization, said that the employees who witnessed the attack had been suspended pending an investigation.

Kyle Bragg, the president of 32BJ SEIU, the union representing staff members, issued a statement saying the door staff had immediately called for help, urging the public “to avoid a rush to judgment” until that investigation had concluded.

On Wednesday morning, a group of tenants of the building issued a statement of support for those employees, saying that the security footage distributed by the Police Department was shortened in a way that did not show the full extent of the staff’s response.

“Upon review of the FULL video-recorded incident, we do not believe the 360 West doormen staff have failed us as residents, our Midtown Manhattan community, nor our fellow AAPI New Yorkers,” the statement said.

Ms. Kari and her family could not immediately be reached for comment on Wednesday morning. She was discharged from N.Y.U. Langone Hospital Tuesday evening, hospital officials said.

Jonah E. Bromwich and Juliana Kim contributed reporting.

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