Posted: May 6, 2021 / 8:52 pm CDT
Updated: May 6, 2021 / 8:52 p.m. CDT

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) – A man who allegedly stabbed two elderly women without warning at a San Francisco bus stop has been charged with attempted murder in an attack that follows a number of others against Asian Americans across the country, authorities said on Thursday with.

San Francisco-based Patrick Thompson, 54, was also charged with assault with a lethal weapon and mistreatment of the elderly for Tuesday’s attack. He condemned improvements for grievous bodily harm, grievous bodily harm to elders and personal use of a lethal weapon, prosecutors said in a statement.

Thompson, who has a history of mental illness, could face a potential life sentence if convicted. He should be charged on Friday. A message to the San Francisco attorney’s office asking for comment on the case was not returned immediately after hours on Thursday.

A witness told KGO-TV that the man carried a large knife with knuckles on the handle and attacked the women without warning while they waited for a bus on Market Street.

“The knife pierced a victim’s lungs and required extensive surgery,” prosecutors said. “A knife had to be removed by another victim in the hospital.”

Authorities initially said the women were 65 and 84 years old and had not identified them immediately. However, one family member said the older victim was Chui Fong Eng, 85.

Victoria Eng said her grandmother was stabbed in the right arm and the blade penetrated her chest. She was operated on successfully.

“We were able to visit grandma today! It was so emotional to come in and see her, ”Eng posted on a GoFundMe page Thursday that raised more than $ 98,000 to cover medical expenses. “The employees looked after them exceptionally and gave them tremendous support to our family. She would like to thank everyone for their generosity and good wishes! “

Some of the money raised was offered to the other victim’s family, “but they politely declined,” the post said.

Both women should survive, authorities said.

The authorities did not say whether the women were attacked because of their ethnicity. However, prosecutors said that prosecutors are working with police to see if there is evidence of the hate crime allegations.

Police chief William Scott initially said the attack was “completely random”.

On Thursday, the FBI’s San Francisco office launched an advertising campaign to encourage hate crime victims to come forward. The effort comes amid a wave of attacks against Asian Americans – many of them elderly – in San Francisco and across the country.

Thompson comes from a criminal background which, according to KGO-TV, includes attacking with a lethal weapon that can cause serious injury.

He was arrested in 2017 and taken to a state mental hospital after being found unable to stand trial, prosecutors said.

In 2018, Thompson was inducted into a state mental health diversion program that provides “intensive, court-supervised treatments and services,” according to prosecutors.

A judge allowed him to be removed from the program after nearly two years. He was not charged with new offenses. But he was arrested on an arrest warrant for missing court dates, including in April 2020 when it was found he was also in possession of a drug pipe, prosecutors said.

“What happened is a devastating tragedy and we will use the full strength of our office resources to pursue this case. We also have to work hard to prevent the next crime, and that includes prevention and treatment, ”said the prosecutor’s statement. “Mr. Thompson needed intense supervision and services – which he received during Mental Health Diversion that prevented new criminal behavior.”

“We also need to be more responsive to addressing the mental health crisis on our streets to keep our community safe,” the statement said. “We have not invested any resources in treatment, supportive housing and other necessary services for the mentally ill and their families in over 40 years. Because of this legacy, we are all less safe. “