An anti-Asian hate crime suspect has suffered from mental health issues and has been committed under the mental health act multiple times, according to his mother.
Steven Zajonc, 29, was charged for assaulting seven Asian women in New York City in just two hours last week.
Zajonc is originally from New York but lived in Florida with his mother until 2020, when they separated after a domestic incident. He is believed to be homeless, as his known last address is a Midtown homeless shelter, Daily News reported.
WFLA spoke to Zajonc’s mother shortly after his arrest, who had petitioned for a no-contact order against her own son in October 2020.
Zajonc’s mother said he was having an “episode” during the attacks, and said her son would not “in his right mind” attack anyone. She also mentioned that he was committed under the Baker Act multiple times when they lived together in Florida.
His mother also told WFLA that Zajonc appreciated Asian culture and had plans to learn to speak Japanese.
One of the victims of Zajonc’s assault, a 19-year-old college student, spoke to WPIX 11, saying she felt “helpless” after the assault.
“I think it’s terrible,” she said, “he should be arrested.”
Michael Feinman, Zajonc’s lawyer, said to the judge that he had spoken to Zajonc’s mother, and that she stated Zajonc “does not have any history of any animus towards the Asian community,” according to the Daily News.
Zajonc served in the U.S. Army as a private between February 2015 and March 2016, according to the Daily Mail.
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