Family, community rally for San Francisco grandmother assaulted on playground

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Community members in San Francisco rallied for justice in support of an 88-year-old great grandmother who was the victim of a heinous crime.

On Tuesday, Yik Oi Huang was on her morning walk when she was beaten unconscious and left for dead at a playground in San Francisco's Visitacion Valley.

On Saturday night, Huang's family, neighbors and city leaders held vigil at a community center in Visitacion Valley.

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"The tragedy is overwhelming," said Sasanna Yee, who is Huang's granddaughter. She says her grandmother is in critical condition and on life support at San Francisco General Hospital. "When we visit her every day, it's joyous to see the little twitches, signs of life." But, because her grandmother's face is shattered, along with a broken spine, hand and ribs, she can't hug or kiss her, so she organized the vigil to send her healing thoughts and positivity.

No arrests have been made, but investigators have been reviewing video from the neighborhood and speaking to witnesses. Captain Jack Hart, who is in charge of SFPD's Ingleside Station, was at the meeting and says he spoke to the SFPD's Special Victims Unit Saturday. "The Special Victim's Unit of SFPD, I don't think have slept since this incident has occurred." Captain Hart says the crime was originally called in as a burglary Tuesday, but that changed when family and police found Huang lying in the sand at Visitacion Valley Playground. "When I learned of this case, it was just one of the more shocking things that I had ever heard and spending time with the family being in San Francisco General Hospital, it's an overwhelming experience," said Hart.

Yee grew up in Visitacion Valley and says her family has been victimized by many burglaries and robberies over the years. She says she also called the meeting to discuss needed safety improvements. She and other community members feel more neighborhood watch programs would be helpful.

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The San Francisco Police Officer's Association (SFPOA) is pushing for a mobile command unit in Visitacion Valley, like the one SFPD parked on Market Street last year. SFPOA recommended that the mobile command unit be put in place temporarily, while city leaders figure out how to open a new substation in the area.

"What I've heard from community is they definitely want a substation with officers that speak Chinese, that speak Spanish, that can relate to the community," said District 10 Supervisor Shamann Walton, who was also at the vigil. But the newly elected supervisor stopped short of recommending a mobile command unit or new substation. "I would have to talk to the department SFPD and understand what the differences are between the cause for a mobile command unit and for substation. But, we do need more community policing, more visibility."

SFPOA is offering a $10,000 reward for the arrest and conviction whoever assaulted Huang. Yee has organized a fundraiser to raise money to increase the reward or to help with her grandmother's medical bills if no reward is collected.
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