An elderly Asian woman in Westchester County, NY, was brutally beaten in the vestibule of her building last week, and a fellow resident is now in custody. Police say that the 67-year-old victim passed by 42-year-old Tammel Esco as she was walking to her Yonkers home around 6pm on Friday when he yelled a racial slur at her, reports NBC New York. As she tried to unlock one of the doors to enter her building, Esco came up from behind, punching her in the head and knocking her to the ground, cops say. From there, it only got worse, per police: Esco proceeded to keep pummeling her in the head and face with his fists more than 125 times, then stomped on her seven times and spit on her before walking away.
A witness called 911 during the beating, which was caught on surveillance camera, and when police arrived, they found the bloodied victim lying in the vestibule. They also found Esco outside the building, and he was arrested without incident. "This is one of the most appalling attacks I have ever seen," says Yonkers Police Commissioner John Mueller in a statement. "To beat a helpless woman is despicable, and targeting her because of her race makes it more so." Esco, who was booked into the Westchester County Jail and is being held without bail, has been charged with assault as a hate crime and attempted murder as a hate crime, both felonies, per WABC.
Yonkers police say that Esco has a long rap sheet with more than a dozen arrests, half of them on felony charges, reports the New York Times. Prison records show he served two and a half years behind bars after a 2011 conviction for assault. The victim, meanwhile, suffered brain bleeding, bone fractures in her face, and numerous cuts and bruises. She's said to be in stable condition at a local hospital and is expected to survive. The Times notes that while violent crimes against Asian Americans has seen a marked rise since the beginning of the pandemic, including in New York City, Yonkers—where census stats show about 7% of the city's residents are Asian—doesn't seem to have experienced that spike. (Read more hate crime stories.)