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Asian American Attacks: Man Who Stopped San Jose Diridon Station Assault Shares Story

SAN JOSE (KPIX 5) — The good Samaritan who helped a young woman being attacked at San Jose's Diridon train station — an assault that's been charged as a hate crime — says he was in the wrong place at the exact right moment.

Brandon Haase said he fell asleep on the train and missed his stop. When he got off the train in San Jose he heard a woman screaming — fear, terror and desperation evident in her calls for help.

"I was going down the steps to the tunnel and I heard a woman yelling — shrieking," Haase told KPIX 5.

San Jose Diridon Station sexual assault hero Brandon Haas
Brandon Haas stopped an attempted sexual assault and hate crime at Diridon Station in San Jose on March 10, 2021. (CBS)

Haase says he rounded the corner and saw the victim flat on her back being pulled by the suspect by her hair.

"She had told me that the man had come up with a chokehold behind her and brought her down to the ground which is where I came upon it. And he said, 'f--- you Asians, f---you Asians,'" Haase recalled.

Haase said he confronted the suspect, later identified by police as 32-year-old Johan Strydom, scared him off and followed him until police arrived.

San Jose assault suspect Johan Strydom appears in court
San Jose assault suspect Johan Strydom appears in court (CBS)

"The best sound I've heard in my life is the clink of the handcuffs," said Haase.

The District Attorney's Office has charged Strydom with assault and attempted rape and added hate crime enhancements to both offenses.

At his first court appearance, Strydom appeared to become emotional when the details of the alleged crime were discussed in court. His defense attorney says Strydom suffers from mental illness and homelessness.

Haase said is grateful to have been in a position to help the victim and stop the violent attack.

"I wanted to come forward to let the Asian community know that we have your back," said Haase.

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