SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX) -- The San Francisco security guard who took down the suspect in the attack against an elderly Asian woman on Market Street last month on Friday told KPIX in an exclusive interview how the incident went down.
Samba Guisse works as a security guard in the Civic Center area. He was on the scene when assault suspect Steven Jenkins hit 76-year-old Chinese grandmother Xiao Zhen Xie out of nowhere.
Video taken at the scene by KPIX 5 Sports Director Dennis O'Donnell that showed the aftermath of the attack went viral. To date, his original video post on Twitter has been viewed over 3.4 million times.
The security guard said the chaotic events unfolded so fast, he didn't even have time to turn on his body camera. He just sprang into action.
The city and the SFPD have since showed their gratitude to Guisse for his bravery.
"Sometimes people need help; people need help," said Guisse. "I don't know exactly what I can say, but it doesn't matter you Asian, you Black, you White; whatever you are, my job is just to help. If I can help, I do."
Guisse did just that on March 17 when he chased and brought Jenkins to the ground as seen in newly released surveillance video provided by the public defender's office.
Seconds earlier, Jenkins -- who is homeless -- is seen hitting Xie, who was standing by a post.
Guisse was already in pursuit of Jenkins. He first saw the man get beat up at U.N. Plaza nearby. Video shows Jenkins taking hits from multiple assailants.
KPIX reported Thursday night that San Francisco deputy public defender Eric McBurney -- who is representing Jenkins -- said his office is investigating whether Jenkins' actions were intentional, volitional or if he mistook Xie and Pham for his assailants.
"One lady and one guy jump him in the corner outside the farmers market, but when they see me coming in my uniform, they run," explained Guisse. "I been in that area almost twelve years. They really know me - and they run. They're not trying to mess with him, the guy coming to me, bleeding"
That was when Guisse first made contact with Jenkins.
"I ask him, 'Do you need help? What happened?' But he not trying to talk to me," said Guisse. "But he just cussing like, 'Oh they jumped me!' And he just walking in the market."
Police say that moments later, Jenkins attacked 83-year-old Ngoc Pham, sending him to the hospital.
Witnesses pointed Guisse in the right direction as he went after Jenkins. Minutes later, the suspect punched Xie.
"It's just, she's an old woman. I'm just trying to help," said Guisse.
A week after the March 17 incident, San Francisco Police Chief Bill Scott was accompanied by a police captain and sergeant when he paid Samba a surprise visit. SFPD and the Civic Center presented him him certificates to salute his outstanding service at great personal risk.
"I really appreciate for the Chief, and thank you so much for everything we're doing at the Civic Center, and farmers market and all the team," said Guisse.
Guisse works 7 days a week full time as a patrol officer for the Department of Public Works and part time as a guard watching over the Civic Center farmers' market area, a job he says he loves.
He is originally from Senegal and has lived in the bay area for 18 years. While Guisse hasn't spoken with the Xie's family, he said he's glad she is on the mend.
O'Donnell posted a photo on Twitter Friday that showed Xie and her family being honored at the Giants' opening game at Oracle Park.
San Francisco Supervisor Matt Haney also posted on Twitter about Xie and her family being the guests of the Giants on Opening Day. He also noted that the family has committed to donating the over $1 million raised in a GoFundMe campaign towards fighting racism.
On Friday night, the staff of the farmers' market in San Francisco's Civic Center also offered their praise.
"He is respectful, brave, a true friend, and one of the hardest working people we know," they said in a statement. "Not only does he work long, exhausting shifts on foot for us each week, he also works every day for the City and County of San Francisco to keep this area safe and to send money back to his family. Samba deserves to be recognized as a local hero. Thank you for helping us call attention to his ongoing heroic efforts and for supporting him in any way we can."
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