Police say 38-year-old Brandon Elliot previously served time in prison for the murder of his own mother 20 years ago.READ MORE: Anti-Asian Attacks Sparking Interest In Self-Defense Classes, Instructions For Bystanders
The NYPD tracked him down early Wednesday morning outside a homeless shelter, where he was living. He was charged with felony assault as a hate crime. If convicted, Elliot will face up to 25 years in prison.
WATCH: NYPD Briefing On Arrest In Attack On Asian Woman
“I feel really relieved, but at the same time, it’s just disheartening that he’s back on the street after learning that he killed his own mother,” Shirley NG, of Concerned Citizens of New York, told CBS2’s Natalie Duddridge.
Elliot was convicted of stabbing his mother to death in 2002 and served 17 years in prison. He was released on lifetime parole in 2019 and was living at the shelter on 40th Street, three blocks from where the attack on the Asian woman happened.
“When you’re releasing people from prison and you’re putting them in homeless shelters, you’re asking for trouble,” NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea said after the arrest. “There’s got to be a safety net and there’s got to be resources for them.”
Stanley Richards is from the Fortune Society, a nonprofit working with the formerly incarcerated.
“Over 50% of the people released on parole who are coming to New York City end up in New York City shelter systems,” Richards told CBS2’s Ali Bauman. “What he did was a horrific offense, but there’s a bigger issue at hand and that is how many people are coming home and going in the shelter and staying in survival mode and then are on the streets without resources to help them rebuild their lives.”READ MORE: Asian Woman On Her Way To Church Brutally Attacked In Hell's Kitchen; Suspect Reportedly Told Her, 'You Don't Belong Here'
A number of suspects connected to anti-Asian hate crimes in recent weeks have been homeless men. CBS2 asked Mayor Bill de Blasio what the city is doing about it.
“The lead agency is Department of Homeless Services. We are going to have all the agencies work together to address these issues. That means everything from deploying street outreach workers or mental health care professions, or in other cases, of course, how move NYPD officers around,” he said.
Concerned Citizens of New York also expressed outrage that staff at the 43rd Street building didn’t help the woman as she was being beaten, instead closing the door. The group encouraged people not be bystanders, but “upstanders.”
“Making sure that people stand up for their fellow New Yorkers. I mean it’s inexcusable that this was happening and doors were shut,” said Barbara Yau, of Concerned Citizens of New York.
The building’s staff members have been suspended pending investigation. Their union originally said the men called 911, but the NYPD said it received no emergency calls. The union later said their members waved down a squad car.
The NYPD officers happened to be driving by when they saw the woman hurt on the ground and stopped.
Officials said the victim was treated for head injuries and released from the hospital Tuesday night.
A GoFundMe account has been set up to support her and her family.MORE NEWS: Actor George Takei, Playwright David Henry Hwang Discuss Fight For Change As Anti-Asian Attacks Spike In U.S.
CBS2’s Ali Bauman contributed to this report