Suspect appears in court for fatal shoving attack on elderly Thai immigrant in SF's Anza Vista

Dan Noyes Image
Wednesday, June 15, 2022
Court hearing held in fatal attack on elderly SF Asian man
One of the early cases in San Francisco's wave of anti-Asian crime - the fatal shoving of 84-year-old Vicha Ratanapakdee - finally reached court.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- One of the early cases in San Francisco's wave of anti-Asian crime finally reached court Tuesday - a 21-year-old Daly City man charged with killing an elderly immigrant from Thailand with one brutal shove to the ground.

Eighty-four-year-old Vicha Ratanapakdee headed out on his morning walk in the Anza Vista neighborhood in January of last year. He was small, thin, and nearly blind when Antoine Watson allegedly sprinted at him, knocking him to the ground.

The prosecutor says Watson appeared to celebrate, then returned to take cellphone pictures as Ratanapakdee bled on the ground.

VIDEO: 84-year-old killed after horrific daytime attack caught on video in San Francisco

(WARNING: This video may be disturbing to some.) An 84-year old man is dead after a horrific daytime attack in San Francisco's Anza Vista neighborhood. Police say their suspect Antoine Watson, 19, attacked the senior along Anza Vista and Fortuna avenues Thursday morning.

His family, friends and supporters have been holding rallies like this one Tuesday outside San Francisco's Hall of Justice, pressing authorities to charge this as a hate crime.

Neighbor Vanita Louie told the crowd, "So we hope that the courts do the right thing. They should know what the right thing is."

As they crowded into court for the preliminary hearing, the family had seen that video many times; still there were audible gasps and tears when the prosecutor played it as evidence, and as the first witnesses to arrive at the crime scene described Vicha still alive, struggling to get up.

RELATED: Family outraged over SF DA's description of 84-year-old Asian man's suspected killer

There is outrage over San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin's description of the man police say pushed over and killed an 84-year-old in San Francisco.

Vicha's daughter, Monthanus Ratanapakdee, told the I-Team: "Yeah, it's been 500 days today since he passed away. It's heartbreaking, you know, I'm still feeling like my father is still with me. I think of my father every day."

We also heard from the man who took that video. The hearing is high interest to people from the neighborhood.

Vanita Louie told ABC7, "Anza Vista and a lot of other neighborhoods in San Francisco should be safe, but there is a lot of fear that has set in. We're just here to gather and hope that justice will come out of this."

The prosecutor tells the I-Team's Dan Noyes the prelim should last through Friday. We'll find out how police identified Antoine Watson, that they detained him earlier that morning for a hit-and-run.

For a look at more stories and videos by the ABC7 News I-Team go here.