Transit police in Philadelphia issued a warning this week about a man who has targeted two Asian students in separate assaults on SEPTA trains.
ABC6 reported acting SEPTA Police Chief Charles Lawson described one of the attacks as a “disgusting unprovoked attack on a student from Central High School.” He said both attacks came without warning.
“The pattern between both victims were they were Asian students. There was no verbalization between the victims and the suspect at all, so it makes it a little harder to pinpoint a specific reason,” said Lawson.
According to Fox29, the same man is suspected in both attacks. The first occurred on September 9 at the Walnut-Locust Street Station. Police accuse the man of strangling the 17-year-old female victim to the ground.
The second incident occurred three days later when they believe the same man went after a 13-year-old girl at the City Hall stop as she exited the Broad Street Line train. Witnesses say he punched the girl five times in the face before passengers pulled him off her.
Police say they are investigating whether these were hate crimes, but say they are unsure the victims were targeted because of their race.
The incidents have made some passengers nervous.
“I have to depend on SEPTA, so you know I would feel more safe if there was more of a police presence,” Tanya Armour told FOX 29.
“It’s uncomfortable,” said Tyche Matthews of West Philadelphia to ABC6.
“Especially walking around with a baby, it’s not safe at all,” said Maya of North Philadephia.
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