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Asian American Attacks: San Francisco Police Investigate Two Separate Assaults on Muni Buses in Tenderloin

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) -- Police on San Francisco on Monday confirmed that officers are investigating two separate attacks on Asian victims that occurred on Muni buses in the city's Tenderloin District Sunday that resulted in one arrest.

In the first incident that happened on Sunday morning shortly before 9 a.m., an Asian woman was boarding on Muni 38 Geary Express bus at the intersection of Geary and Leavenworth headed towards the Richmond District.

A male passenger hit the woman in her face for no reason, according to the victim. The Muni driver stopped the passenger for further assaulting the victim and let the suspect off the bus in addition to calling the police.

The woman suffered a split lip from the blow. There was no word if she required medical treatment or if the suspect in that case was arrested.

The second aggravated assault incident happened shortly before 12:30 p.m. Sunday afternoon near the intersection of O'Farrell and Van Ness, according to police.

Responding officers received a description of the assault suspect from dispatch. The suspect, later identified as 29-year-old Andre Smith, was found on the 700 block of Polk Street and taken into custody without incident.

Officers located a 55-year-old male victim on board a bus. The victim told police that he and Smith got into a verbal argument before Smith punched the victim in the face, causing him to fall to the ground and lose consciousness. The victim was transported to a local hospital where he was treated for non-life-threatening injuries.

Smith was booked at San Francisco County Jail on charges of assault likely to cause great bodily injury, aggravated battery, elder abuse, elder neglect and battery.

Police said the incident is under investigation, but noted that as of Monday, race did not appear to be a motivating factor in the assault.

Police also noted that there did not appear to be a connection between the two assaults and said both incidents appear to be isolated.

The two attacks were the latest in a string of assaults on Asian residents in San Francisco and around the Bay Area. Last week, a suspect was arrested after stabbing two elderly Asian women who were waiting for a Muni bus on Market Street. The attack left both victims with serious injuries that required surgery at SF General, according to authorities.

That suspect -- later identified as 54-year-old Patrick Thompson -- was arrested within hours. Thompson was scheduled to be arraigned on Friday, but refused to come to court from jail.

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