HAYWARD, Calif. - A man was charged with elder abuse after he was captured on video assaulting a 72-year-old woman outside a grocery store in Hayward.
The incident occurred on July 21 as the woman was walking toward the entrance of the Filipino grocery store "Seafood City" while carrying a large box.
Without any warning or provocation, she was approached by the suspect, who slapped her across the face, according to police. The unexpected strike left the woman stunned, causing her to fall to the ground and hit her back on the concrete curb of the parking lot, authorities said.
"We arrived on scene and saw she had been struck in the face. She fell to the ground. The man who struck here fled the scene prior to our arrival but luckily there was surveillance footage," Cassondra Fovel with the Hayward Police Department said.
Police say the attack was unprovoked, and the two did not know each other. Fovel said officers reviewed the footage and recognized the suspect from previous incidents.
The suspect, 25-year-old Steve Karanja, was found in the same area and taken into custody. He was arrested for elder abuse and a hate crime. In court documents, Karanja is described as a transient.
"We are concerned about any type of violence whether it is against a protected party or a special race. It’s something we take very seriously, and we have no tolerance for here in Hayward."
The case was handed over to the Alameda County District Attorney’s office, which dropped the hate crime and only charged Karanja with elder abuse.
On the City of Hayward website, there are some guidelines of how to identify a hate crime. They include:
The criminal chose the victim or property because they belonged to a protected group, like a certain religion or gender.
The criminal made written or verbal comments showing a prejudice.
The crime happened on a date that is important for the victim’s protected group.
There is a lot of organized hate activity in the area.