The 33-year-old suspect, Eliasaul Perez, remains in custody and is due to appear in court on April 12. He told detectives, “I hit her on the head with a rock.”
He was charged with assault in the first degree, assault in the second degree and possession of a weapon in the fourth degree.
He has not been charged with hate crimes, but given recent developments, those charges could be upgraded.
When Witness News spoke to GuiYing Ma’s family Earlier in February, they said it was not uncommon for her to be showing signs of improvement following the attack.
However, on Monday, Witness News learned that Ma died on February 22. Her cause of death was homicide due to complications from a head injury.
The once friendly and kind grandmother was sweeping the sidewalk in her Jackson Heights after Thanksgiving last year when a rock hit her head. She was in a coma at Elmhurst Hospital Center until there were signs of hope in early February.
The attack permanently damaged the right side of Ma’s brain. But the love between Ma and her husband, Zhanxin Gao, remains. Despite being connected to a ventilator and feeding tube, Ma responded to Gao with eye movements and tears in her eyes when Gao talked to her at the hospital.
Although this attack has not yet been classified as a hate crime, the law firm representing the victim’s family is calling for more transparency from the NYPD when it comes to hate crime statistics and investigations.
They are also calling for changes to hate crime laws, so that prosecutions don’t rely so much on racial slurs.
“Whether they’re all officially classified as hate crimes or not, the reality is that our communities are living in fear as we continue to witness several instances of senseless violence. once a day for the last few years, like some in our own city, just in the last few weeks and months,” said Representative Grace Meng. “Our community is mentally and physically exhausted from being forced to endure this ongoing violence. We’re so tired, so tired of living in fear.”
Former US Attorney General Loretta Lynch is a partner at the firm representing the family.
“As we have witnessed the recent outbreak of divisive speech and hateful acts, I know that many Asian Americans are wondering if they are in danger simply because of their foreign policy,” Lynch said. their picture or not,” Lynch said.
According to the NYPD, there have been 367% hate crimes against Asians between 2020-2021.
Meanwhile, GuiYing Ma’s husband is once again grieving. Speaking through an interpreter, he talked about losing his soulmate after more than 40 years of them being together.
“My beloved, please stay,” Gao said. “I want you to be able to stay. I want you to be able to come back to China with me. I want you to stay strong and stay by my side.”
The NYPD hate crimes task force joined the investigation.
The Queens County District Attorney’s Office released the following statement:
“We are reviewing the latest developments in this tragedy and will add or upgrade any pertinent charges supported by the evidence. Meanwhile, on behalf of the District Attorney, we submit condolences to the family.”
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