HomeCrimeMan beaten in hate crime in coma in upstate New York

Man beaten in hate crime in coma in upstate New York

By Pauline Liu

The co-owner of the popular Shogun sushi restaurant in Albany, NY may be showing signs of slowly regaining consciousness after being hospitalized in a coma for nearly 12 days following a violent sidewalk confrontation.

It’s the first bit of potentially good news since the racially charged fight took place outside the restaurant on May 29th, his hopeful friends tell AsAmNews.

“Yesterday, he tried to open his eyes but he couldn’t keep them open, and he seemed to go back to sleep,” said Shogun manager Raymond Ren. “He can’t talk so we can’t tell if he can recognize his family.”

Albany Police say the 49-year-old restaurateur was punched in the face by Lucas Healey of Albany who tried to dine-and-dash after racking up a bill of about $425 for food and alcohol. Healey remains behind bars as prosecutors prepare to present his case before a grand jury.

While the theft of food and services is nothing new to the restaurant industry, many in the Capital Region are stunned by the alleged brutality involved in this particular crime. An online fundraiser has been launched to offset medical expenses for the father of two who is being identified only as Su Wen.

Out of fear of retaliation, his family has asked officials not to make his last name public. According to colleagues, his wife has quit her job in order to keep vigil by his hospital bedside.

So far, the campaign has raised about $10,000 out of a goal of $75,000. The GoFundMe account was set up by Chris Pratt, co-owner of the Lark Street Tavern located next door to Shogun.

“All I know is that this could’ve been one of my employees,” Pratt wrote on GoFundMe. Shogun’s workers credited the tavern’s employees and patrons with coming to their aid as they tried to detain Healey until police arrived. 

Police say Healey was still at the scene when they arrived, and he did not resist arrest. According to Shogun’s staff, Healey had dinner at the restaurant with an unidentified woman who left before the check arrived. Staffer said they grew suspicious, but Healey kept insisting he could afford to pay the bill, then even called up his friends and offered to place takeout orders for them. According to manager Ren, after Healey was presented with the hefty check, it turned out that his credit card was only approved for $50 and he refused to pay the balance.

Much of the dramatic confrontation outside was caught on security video. Police say it shows a man identified as Healey leaving with several plastic bags filled with takeout containers and Shogun employees following him out the door at about 6:30pm. The man can be seen still clutching the takeout bags as he takes swings at the employees, spilling food onto the ground. Witnesses told police that he taunted the Asian American workers with racist language, telling them to “speak English” and “go back to your country.” They said Healey became even more aggressive after a female passerby with a dog tried to help the workers by pepper spraying the suspect in the face. That’s when he can be seen charging Su Wen, landing a blow that caused him to strike the back of his head against the sidewalk.

Healey pleaded ”not guilty,” at his arraignment the following day. The 42-year-old is being held at the Albany County Correctional Facility in lieu of $150,000 cash bail or $200,000 bond. He is being represented by the Albany County Public Defender’s Office which did not return AsAmNews’ request for comment as of publication time.

Healey has been charged with first degree robbery as a hate crime. He’s also been charged with assault, theft of services and two minor drug counts for allegedly possessing small quantities of cocaine. 

Meanwhile, Su Wen’s family and colleagues are waiting for more positive news as he struggles to fully regain consciousness. He and his brother have owned the restaurant since 2019 and are no strangers to adversity. They and their staff managed to keep the business open through the Covid crisis. Now, they’ve been told by medical experts that more surgery awaits Su Wen and his road to recovery will be a long one.

AsAmNews is published by the non-profit, Asian American Media Inc. Follow us on FacebookX, InstagramTikTok and YouTube. Please consider making a tax-deductible donation to support our efforts to produce diverse content about the AAPI communities. We are supported in part by funding provided by the State of California, administered by the California State Library in partnership with the California Department of Social Services and the California Commission on Asian and Pacific Islander American Affairs as part of the Stop the Hate program. To report a hate incident or hate crime and get support, go to CA vs Hate.


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