A Murder in NYC's Chinatown Rattles Asian Community

Police say homeless man followed Christina Yuna Lee into her building
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 14, 2022 2:30 PM CST

The fatal stabbing of a 35-year-old woman in New York City's Chinatown is raising new fears about crimes against Asian Americans. The alleged assailant is in custody, though it remains unclear whether the attack was racially motivated or one of opportunity. Coverage:

  • The victim: Police say Christina Yuna Lee returned home to her apartment about 4:30am Sunday. Surveillance video obtained by the New York Post shows a man following her into the building. Police and the building's owner say the man followed an unknowing Lee up six floors, then forced his way into her apartment when she opened her door to get in.

  • Assault: Neighbors heard screams minutes later and called 911. Lee was found in her bathtub, and a homeless man identified as 25-year-old Assamad Nash was was found hiding under her bed, reports the Post. The New York Times quotes one neighbor as saying he heard screams that “sounded like something out of a movie," but he "thought nothing of it” until police came knocking later that morning.
  • Lee: The victim is a Rutgers grad who worked as a senior creative producer at an online platform for digital music called Splice, per the AP. According to her LinkedIn bio, she also worked on photo and video campaigns for companies such as Marriott, Equinox, and shoe retailer Toms. "Such a sweet girl," is how building owner Brian Chin describes her. Splice tweeted a tribute.

  • Charges: Nash, who has a long history of misdemeanor crimes, is charged with burglary and murder, and authorities have not linked the attack to race. But all the coverage notes the killing occurred amid a surge in attacks against Asian Americans. "The list is getting longer and longer," Jacky Wong of Concerned Citizens of East Broadway tells CBS New York. "I don’t want to jump to the conclusion that Christina is also a victim of hate crime because it’s still pending, but this is another Asian American who was brutally attacked." Gothamist rounds up statements of support for the Asian community from Mayor Eric Adams, Gov. Kathy Hochul, and others.
(More Chinatown stories.)

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