A man arrested last month in connection with a string of attacks on seven Asian women over a three-hour period in New York City has been charged with felony and misdemeanor hate crimes charges, prosecutors said Monday.
Steven Zajonc, 28, was indicted on six counts of third-degree assault as a hate crime and seven counts of second-degree aggravated harassment for the Feb. 27 attacks in Manhattan. Authorities said the attacks were not provoked.
In several of the attacks, Zajonc allegedly approached the women from behind and struck them in the face with a closed fist or elbow before fleeing. Their injuries included bruising and bleeding, prosecutors said, and one victim was knocked unconscious and treated at a hospital for a concussion.
“These attacks on seven New York women, each fueled by anti-Asian hate, are yet another sobering reminder of the demonstrable fears [Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders] communities, particularly AAPI women, in our City continue to face,” Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg said in a statement.
Zajonc, who was not listed as having an attorney, was arrested on March 2 after he barricaded himself inside of a New York Public Library in Midtown following a manhunt, NBC New York reported at the time.
Anti-Asian hate crimes rose dramatically following the start of the coronavirus pandemic. The Manhattan DA’s Office said it has 27 open hate crime cases related to anti-Asian hate crimes as of Monday.