Christina Yuna Lee, a 35-year-old digital producer from New Jersey, was found stabbed to death inside her New York Chinatown apartment on Sunday morning.
After getting out of a cab on 111 Chrystie St., video obtained by the New York Post shows Lee being followed into her apartment building and up six flights of stairs. Neighbors called the police upon hearing a woman’s screams for help.
“He followed her all the way up, hanging back, staying one floor behind her all the way up to the sixth floor,” stated the building’s owner in a U.S. Sun article. “Then, he waited until her door was just about closed and he went in.”
When police arrived at the scene, they found the door barricaded shut, but could still hear Lee’s screaming from inside her unit.
Emergency Services Unit personnel were eventually able to get the door open to discover Lee in her bathroom with multiple stab wounds throughout her body, according to NBC New York. Lee was pronounced dead at the scene.
The suspect was found still under the bed and covered in blood when the police arrived.
The suspect has been identified by multiple sources to several media outlets as Assamad Nash, a 25-year-old man, who is homeless, according to the police. Nash was taken to Bellevue Hospital for evaluation with charges against him pending.
Nash has eight prior arrests, with three of them still pending in Manhattan court, mostly for low-level offenses in the subway system, noted New York Daily News. He was freed without bail in three of those cases, including an assault case where he punched a man at a subway turnstile.
“We need things to be prevented, not just confronted when they happen,” said “Destiny” in a New York Daily News article. “Things like this don’t happen in the building, but they do happen in this area. So it’s almost not surprising.”
In response to the stabbing, politicians have advocated for more effective mental health resources for at-risk individuals and additional safety measures, added the New York Daily News.
“Once again, the Asian American community has been devastated by an act of senseless violence,” New York Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand said in a statement to the Daily News. “Decisive action is needed to prevent these attacks—all levels of government must work together to deliver resources to reduce homelessness, bolster mental health services and protect vulnerable New Yorkers.”
Additionally, the motive for the homicide remains under investigation, reports The Villager.
Senator John Liu requested the city to provide more immediate relief to the Asian American community, regardless of whether the murder constitutes an Asian hate crime or not.
“Maybe this is a hate crime. Maybe this is not a hate crime. But it’s yet another Asian woman. Another Asian American was brutally attacked and killed in her own home. Think about that,” said Queens state Senator John Liu to the Post. “People do not feel safe and part of this is that government at all levels need to pay more attention…and yet this attack occurs, and the city continues to seemingly talk about long-term solutions without providing the relief that the community needs and demands right now.”
The investigation is ongoing and police have not yet found a weapon.
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