YONKERS, Westchester County -- A man from Yonkers, New York is charged with a hate crime after police say he violently attacked a 67-year-old Asian woman as she entered an apartment building.
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Tammel Esco, 42, was arrested Friday and charged with attempted murder as a hate crime and assault as a hate crime -- both violent felonies.
Police say he approached the victim from behind on Friday just after 6 p.m. and violently punched her in the head, knocking her to the ground.
Esco allegedly then continued to punch the victim more than 100 times, stomped on her upper body seven times and then spit on her.
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Moments before the attack, officials say he called her a racial slur.
Neighbors who spoke with our sister station WABC-TV said the victim bothers nobody.
Police Commissioner John Mueller called it one of the most appalling attacks he has ever seen.
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"This is one of the most appalling attacks I have ever seen; to beat a helpless woman is despicable and targeting her because of her race makes it more so," he said. "This defendant must be held to the maximum punishment allowed by law to send a clear message that hateful, violent behavior will not be tolerated in our communities. Our thoughts and prayers are with the victim and her family, that she may make a full recovery."
Other tenants in the building say the suspect lives there.
"I had an altercation with him, me not physically, but something he did to my granddaughter," one neighbor said. "I don't understand how he came back out here after he did what he did. He stalked her and threw her through that window over there."
The victim was taken to the hospital where she is being treated for bleeding of the brain, facial fractures and bruising and lacerations to the head and face. She is said to be stable.
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"Our hearts are broken for the victim. The District Attorney's Office will continue to work with the Yonkers Police Department to investigate and secure justice for her and to support her and her family through this difficult time," Westchester County DA Miriam Rocah said. "We also understand that many in the community may experience fear and trauma as a result of this incident. We will continue our work with our community and government partners throughout the County to provide support for the community, by offering training and outreach on hate and bias offenses in local schools, senior centers and other community organizations."
If anyone has been a victim of a hate crime or bias incident, or has further information on this case, call the District Attorney's Office at (914) 995-TIPS.