A man who is alleged to have screamed racial slurs, threatened and charged an Asian couple in Ballard earlier this week is in jail on $50,000 bail facing one charge, for now, of malicious harassment, the state’s name for a hate crime.
The Seattle Police Department would not definitively link the man to a slew of other similar attacks over the past few weeks against people of Asian descent in downtown Seattle, Golden Gardens and Ballard, but the suspect description in all of the incidents is very similar, police said: The blotter post described him as a white man, in his 30s, about 5 feet, 10 inches tall with a muscular build and dark hair.
Prosecutors said police are still investigating and additional investigation details are expected, including the documents needed to file felony charges.
The incident for which the 28-year-old suspect was arrested occurred Monday when he is alleged to have accosted a couple who were carrying groceries around 7:30 p.m., according to the superform filed in King County Superior Court on Wednesday.
The suspect followed the man and woman, yelling, “Go back to China,” the victims and witnesses reportedly told police.
The suspect ran off when one of the witnesses yelled and ran toward him, police said. He was followed by one of the victims, who told police the man had used a key fob to get into an apartment complex in the 1700 block of Northwest 56th Street.
The FBI warned in March of a possible surge in hate crimes directed against Asian communities, which have been scapegoated for the spread of the coronavirus, which President Donald Trump, at times, has called “the Chinese virus,” according to multiple news reports.
Asian Americans across the country, including in the Seattle area, have reported an increase in verbal abuse and physical attacks since the coronavirus epidemic began. In some of the other recent Seattle incidents, the suspect has made specific references to the virus.