86-year-old woman beaten in random street attack
LOS ANGELES — An 86-year-old Korean woman was punched in the face and sent tumbling to the ground, smashing her head against the pavement, in a random and unprovoked attack about a block from a police station in Los Angeles, authorities said Monday.
The victim, Mi Reum Song, was walking down the street in the city’s Koreatown neighborhood Saturday afternoon when a man came up to her and “violently struck her” in the face, Capt. David Kowalski said.
The attack, which occurred right under the historic Koreatown sign, caused Song to fall and slam her head against the pavement, leaving a large gash that required stitches to close, police said.
On Monday, bloodstains were still visible on the sidewalk where the attack occurred.
“She was just walking along and this attack comes unprovoked and she’s struck by this person and falls to the ground and loses consciousness,” Kowalski said at a news conference. “Somebody saw this crime. It happened in the middle of the day, in one of the busiest parts of Los Angeles.”
While nothing was taken from Song, detectives are exploring several possibilities, including that the suspect may have been trying to rob Song and then ran off when she fell and began bleeding profusely.
At this point, the attack still appears unprovoked, Kowalski said.
Surveillance video from a nearby smoke shop captured a man running away from the scene moments after the attack, Kowalski said. The video captured a Hispanic man, about 35 years old, who was wearing a white button-down shirt and a backpack, running by the shop, which is about a half a block away from where Song was attacked. Detectives are looking to question the man, whom they described as about 5 feet 5 and 150 pounds.
“At this point he is a person of interest only, but someone we want to speak to,” Kowalski said of the man.
Song’s granddaughter, Yujin Audrey Ko, shared a photo of her grandmother’s bruised and bandaged head in a Facebook post after the attack.
“She told me to let this go because she wants to forgive the man that did this but I cannot and I am livid,” she wrote.
Song has been released from the hospital and was resting and in good spirits Monday when investigators visited her at home, said Detective Hee Bae Cho, the case’s lead investigator.