British Columbia

Family of 92-year-old assault victim speaks out against xenophobia

In an email to CBC, the Kwong family says their elderly relative is doing well and that they are grateful to those who helped to identify the attacker so quickly.

Kwong family say they are grateful for concern and support shown to relative

Vancouver police are seeking the public's help identifying a man who allegedly assaulted an elderly Asian man with dementia at a convenience store last month in East Vancouver. (Vancouver Police Department)

The family of the 92-year-old Asian man who appeared to be thrown to the ground in an alleged racially motivated attack say their elderly relative "is doing well after the incident."

In an email to CBC, the Kwong family said it was grateful to those who helped to identify the attacker so quickly.

"It has been heartwarming to have so many kind words of concern shared, and also to see the community band together to show they will not tolerate such treatment," they wrote.

"Xenophobia is on the rise and we hope that as a community we can stand together to help protect the next person this may happen to. We can't control the fact that bad things are going to happen, but it's how we react to them that really matters."

The 92-year-old man is the patriarch of a large family, with five children, eight grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren.

On Thursday, Vancouver police announced they had identified a suspect with the help of the public, a day after releasing video of the attack, which took place in an East Vancouver 7-Eleven on March 13.

The footage appears to show a middle-age white male shouting at the elderly man, who police said has dementia. Vancouver police said the suspect was yelling racist remarks about COVID-19. 

The suspect then appears to shove the elderly man out of the store, causing him to fall and hit his head on the pavement.

WATCH | Suspect pushes elderly man out of a convenience-store door:

Police are asking the public for help identifying the suspect. They say he began yelling at a 92-year-old man with dementia, making comments about COVID-19, then shoved him, causing him to fall and hit his head outside a convenience store in East Vancouver on March 13. 1:33

In the email, the Kwong family also made a point of thanking the VPD.

"For the many negative incidents that occur we hope there are more acts of kindness as shown by our community."

A VPD spokeswoman said the suspect has had previous dealings with police, but did not elaborate.

With files from Lien Yeung

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