18-year-old arrested in brutal beating of Visitacion Valley senior

A suspect has been arrested in the high-profile beating of an elderly woman found suffering from life-threatening injuries in a playground across from her Visitacion Valley home earlier this month.

Keonte Gathron, 18, was arrested on Saturday evening in connection with the assault of 88-year-old Yik Oi Huang on Jan. 8 at a park on Visitacion Avenue between Cora and Delta streets, according to police.

Police believe the suspect also burglarized her home.

The assault has raised concerns within the Chinese community and calls for increased police visibility in the neighborhood, such as a new substation or officers assigned to foot beats.

SEE RELATED: City, police leaders promise increased safety efforts following brutal attack on Visitacion Valley senior

Police Chief Bill Scott said in a statement Sunday that investigators “worked tirelessly to identify a suspect in this case.”

“This is an ongoing investigation and we will have further details to follow later in the week,” Scott said. “But we want to express our gratitude to neighbors and leaders in the Visitacion Valley community who worked closely with our investigators to address this act of senseless violence.”

Supervisor Shamann Walton, who was recently elected to represent the area on the Board of Supervisors, thanked the San Francisco Police Department for the arrest in a statement.

“Our community still has a lot of work to do to heal,” Walton said. “It is through community building efforts that we will ensure District 10 is a community that cares and watches over each other.”

Walton said he plans to meet with Mayor London Breed and Supervisor Norman Yee, the president of the Board of Supervisors, to discuss safety improvements for the neighborhood in the wake of the assault.

Among the changes Walton is calling for is the installation of surveillance cameras on residential and commercial buildings throughout Visitacion Valley.

Details around the circumstances of the arrest are slim but police said Gathron was taken into custody after committing an unrelated robbery.

Police previously released a sketch of the suspect but have not published a booking photograph of Gathron.

San Francisco police have released a sketch of a suspect in an attack on an elderly woman in Visitacion Valley. (Courtesy SFPD)

Huang is still being treated at the hospital. Her daughter said at a community meeting Saturday that the assault fractured her neck, skull, arms and teeth.

“We need to come together as a community and I want each block to have a camera, whether a personal camera or a public surveillance one,” said Helen Yee, the daughter.

A fundraising team is collecting donations for the family of Huang on GoFundMe.


Michael Barba
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Michael Barba

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