Airhorns were distributed to Oakland's Chinatown in 2021, a tool provided for community members to alert others when in danger
OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- A pregnant store owner in Oakland's Chinatown credits a community-donated safety tool for helping her after she was attacked outside her store.
Eva Liu and her husband own Yuda International Logistics, which specializes in shipping items to and from Asia.
While working at the store the afternoon of April 25, she was approached by a man, who is seen on surveillance video, approaching a stack of customer packages.
"This person came in and he was trying to grab those packages." Says Eva, through a translator.
Eva, who does not speak much English, can be heard yelling "sorry, sorry, sorry" in an effort to get the man to stop walking toward her. In an instant, Eva, who is seven months pregnant, fearlessly grabs the airhorn from her desk and runs after the man.
"I couldn't afford to be afraid because I wanted to protect those packages for the customers."
You can't see it on camera but you can hear the moment the man hurls the hand sanitizer bottle at Eva's pregnant belly. Eva screams as the man runs away, as she says the suspect called her a "Chinese b***h" as he was leaving the area. She didn't even know what the term meant until someone translated it for her days after the incident. She then deploys the airhorn.
The sound scared the man away and also alerted a nearby volunteer security team- the Blue Angels who flagged down Oakland Police who arrived in less than two minutes.
Thousands of air horns like the one Eva used were distributed through Oakland's Chinatown and beyond in February of 2021. The distribution was made possible thanks in part to generous donations from community members, including a contractor who wanted an alternative to whistles and pepper spray, and the Oakland Chinatown Chamber of Commerce.
Carl Chan, president of the Chinatown Chamber says the community was skeptical at first.
"In the beginning, people were questioning why should I carry airhorns? With a few incidents happening, like the one here it's helping small businesses." He says proper education on how to use the airhorn has paid off.
During a time when many violent attacks on the Asian American community have been caught on camera, this latest incident is an encouraging sign the airhorns are working.
"We're thinking not just distribute them in just Chinatown, but we're hoping to distribute them, to other communities as well." Says Chan.
As for Eva she and her baby narrowly missed getting hurt by the hand sanitizer bottle.
"I was trying to protect my stomach so I turned, and it hit my ribs." She said
She is just grateful the airhorn helped save the day.
"When it sounded many neighbors in a few block radius could hear it and knew trouble was happening."
She says, despite this positive outcome the work is far from over, to keep Oakland's Chinatown safe.
"I'd like to see more police officers, especially officers that speak the language."
The suspect in Eva's case has not yet been arrested.