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Asian-American advocates question why suspect accused in vicious attack last week in Yonkers was even out on the streets

Brutal attack on Asian woman in Yonkers raises questions of why suspect Tammel Esco was not already 02:18

YONKERS, N.Y. -- Anger, fear and frustration was apparent Tuesday following a vicious alleged anti-Asian hate crime that was captured on camera.

As CBS2's Tony Aiello reported, there are questions why the suspect was not in jail after pushing a woman through a window last year.

The video from Friday's attack is so disturbing, CBS2 is not showing the worst of it. Tammel Esco, 42, unprovoked, is seen pummeling his neighbor, a 67-year-old woman from the Philippines.

He allegedly threw 125 punches and unleashed seven vicious kicks, in addition to spitting and uttering anti-Asian slurs.

"It is viciousness and depravity. We are all here to express our outrage and heartbreak against this senseless act of violence," said Lisa Hofflich of the Westchester Asian-American Democrats.

Advocates and supporters at Yonkers City Hall took a stand against the rise in crime targeting Asian-Americans, noting a common denominator with many of the suspects arrested.

"Many of the people who perpetrate these assaults are mentally ill, right? So we need to insure there is proper care for those individuals, and insure they are not on the street, going out and hurting people," said David Imamura of the Westchester County Asian-American Advisory Board.

Sources told Aiello that Esco had both mental health and substance abuse issues. He spent 42 months in prison after stabbing a woman in 2010.

In February 2021, he was charged with misdemeanor assault for pushing a woman through a plate glass window.

The office of Westchester District Attorney Mimi Rocah agreed to no jail time after Esco completed five months of in-patient treatment.

In a statement, the office indicated it would not offer such a deal Tuesday, saying, "Current guidelines presume incarceration for [people] with prior violent felony convictions."

After Friday's attack, residents said they fear the system failed to protect them.

"Evidently, he wasn't getting treated, or perhaps he was untreatable," said Diane Lane, the victim's neighbor.

Some good news was released at the City Hall rally. The consul general for the Philippines said the 67-year-old victim is improving, and may soon be released from the hospital.

The suspect is charged with attempted murder as a hate crime. He's being held without bail.

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