One of the suspects accused of violently robbing two Chinatown community leaders this summer has been formally charged in connection with the attack, authorities said Wednesday.
Dashawn Pierson, 19, is facing five counts of robbery, assault, battery and elder abuse for his alleged involvement in the highly publicized incident at Stockton and Pacific streets on July 15.
During the attack, a 56-year-old was lifted off his feet and thrown to the ground, police said. A 69-year-old man was knocked unconscious while trying to intervene and help him.
“This is a case involving an assault on members of our community, one of whom is a senior citizen,” newly appointed interim District Attorney Suzy Loftus said at a news conference she called to announce the decision to charge the suspect. “That is conduct that is particularly troubling and impacts our sense of safety.”
The robbery played into fears that Chinese residents were disproportionately being targeted by criminals in San Francisco, though data has since suggested that is not the case.
Still, there have been a number of high-profile crimes against Chinese victims since last New Year’s Eve, when a 99-year-old woman was sexually assaulted at her apartment in Chinatown.
Concerns about the violence drove the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association to issue a $20,000 reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction in the July robbery.
Pierson is believed to be one of three suspects involved in the case. They allegedly stole a Rolex watch from one of the victims. It has not been recovered.
On Tuesday morning, Pierson was arrested when police served a search warrant at his home in Oakland. Police say they found evidence connecting him to the incident.
The two other suspects remain at large.
“We are currently still activily investigating the case for the outstanding two suspects,” Lt. Derrick Jackson of the Robbery Detail told reporters.
Pierson will face enhancements for allegedly causing great bodily injury, according to Loftus. Both of the victims were taken to the hospital for head injuries, police said.
Pierson is scheduled to appear in court for the first time Thursday afternoon at the Hall of Justice. Prosecutors plan to ask that he be held in custody pending trial without bail.