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35-year-old woman followed into Chinatown apartment and stabbed to death

Woman murdered in NYC's Chinatown
Suspect arrested in murder of woman in New York City's Chinatown 02:53

A 35-year-old woman was followed into her apartment building in New York City's Chinatown neighborhood and stabbed to death on Sunday. A 25-year-old suspect, Assamad Nash, is charged with murder and burglary, following the death of Christina Yuna Lee, the New York Police Department told CBS News.

Lee entered her building on Chrystie Street on Sunday morning and Nash allegedly followed behind her up six flights of stairs. She apparently didn't know he was there, building owner Brian Chin told CBS New York.

Nash allegedly pushed his way into her apartment, and neighbors heard screaming and called 911, according to CBS New York.

When police arrived, they found a barricaded individual and were unable to gain immediate access inside of the apartment, the NYPD told CBS News. Emergency Service Unit personnel responded and were able to get inside, where officers found Lee in the bathroom with trauma about the body. 

Emergency medical personnel pronounced Lee dead at the scene. The investigation is ongoing, NYPD said. Nash was arrested on Monday — his eighth arrest since May 2021.

There does not appear to be any connection between Nash and Lee, and the attack may have been random, CBS New York reports. She had multiple stab wounds and it appears a knife from her kitchen was used.

Lee moved to New York City from New Jersey last year. She is a graduate of Rutgers University in New Jersey, and worked as creative producer, according to CBS New York.

"She has done nothing wrong. Only mistake she made, was to move to New York City … but our city allowed her life to be taken away by violence," said Justin Yu, president of the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association. "Crime has no consequence in this city."

Coworkers said Lee was a champion of AAPI representation, CBS New York reports. "She was a leader in her company, leading diversity causes, inclusion causes," community activist Ben Wei said.

Coworkers said Christina Yuna Lee was a champion of AAPI representation, CBS New York reports. "She was a leader in her company, leading diversity causes, inclusion causes," community activist Ben Wei said. CBS New York

During the pandemic, attacks on Asian Americans skyrocketed. 

Between March 2020 and March 2021, women reported nearly 65% of anti-Asian hate incidents nationally, according to data from Stop AAPI Hate. The advocacy group reported reported a total of 6, 603 hate incidents, a broad term that can include hate crimes such as physical assaults but also incorporates verbal and online harassment, shunning, and civil rights violations.

Last year, New York City recorded 131 hate crimes against Asian Americans, according to NYPD date.

While Nash has yet to be charged with a hate crime, some Chinatown residents are worried about becoming a victim themselves. "I'm scared to walk out on the street. I'm scared to walk around with my daughters," Grace Lee told CBS New York.

The scene outside Lee's Chinatown apartment building, where a suspect followed her up six floors and allegedly stabbed her with her own kitchen knife. CBS New York

Jacky Wong, a member of Concerned Citizens of East Broadway, said the list of attacks against Asian Americans is getting "longer and longer."

"We know the Lee family lost a loved one, and we share their pain," he told CBS New York.

"I don't want to jump to the conclusion that Christina is also a victim of hate crime because it's still pending, the investigation," Wong said. "But this is another Asian American who was brutally attacked and what's worse is that she was killed in her own apartment. It just shatters our community."

Last month, 40-year-old Michelle Go, a resident of the city's Upper West Side, was fatally pushed onto subway tracks. Go was a businesswoman who spent her last 10 years with the New York Junior League helping at risk individuals get back on their feet, CBS New York reports.

Martial Simon, 61, is facing murder charges for allegedly pushing Go, after first trying to shove another woman.

In June of last year, another violent attack on an Asian American woman was caught on camera in the city's Chinatown neighborhood. Video shows a man walk up to the woman and sucker-punch her in broad daylight.

The suspect was arrested and charged with assault as a hate crime and other counts, CBS New York reports.

And in May, two Asian-American women walking near Times Square were approached by a suspect who struck one of the women with a hammer, CBS News reports. That incident was investigated as a hate crime and the suspect, Ebony Jackson, was charged with assault, criminal possession of a weapon and menacing.

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