Still no suspect in mugging death

80-year-old man robbed, beaten in late April succumbed to head injuries a week later; police have no leads on his attacker

Yao Nan Xin fought death for a week after he was assaulted on a crowded sidewalk.

Now, five months later, his family is fighting for closure by searching for his killer.

Xin, 80, was a retired Chinese American who spent his time volunteering with Chinese community groups. The former professional artist and accomplished calligrapher had just moved to the Tenderloin when he walked to Walgreens on April 30 to fill a prescription.

It was the last thing he would do.

As Xin left the store and reached the intersection of Larkin and Market streets, someone confronted him, knocking him down in a robbery attempt. Police inspector John Peterson of the robbery detail said the thief took the prescription out of Xin’s hand, jumped into a waiting car and took off.

Xin hit his head when he fell, and he died a week later.

Peterson said investigators have run out of leads in the case but feel there are more witnesses who haven’t yet come forward.

The assault, he said, happened on a Sundayafternoon when the San Francisco Municipal Railway’s light rail tracks were closed due to an accident farther up Market Street. Many people were delayed in the area.

“We believe the suspect had contact with many people who had been waiting on the bus,” Peterson said. “We just need to talk to people about what they saw. They might not have seen the man get hit, but they might have seen this guy have interaction with him. All these things can help us identify somebody.”

Yao Nan Xin’s son, Canaan Xin, a 50-year-old general contractor from San Francisco, said his father had been an artist and writer before moving to the United States in 1989. Yao Nan Xin donated his time and writing skills to community groups such as the San Francisco Community Tenants Association, where he was secretary. He wrote articles for neighborhood newspapers and did calligraphy work for the organization.

“He was in love with that art,” Canaan Xin said.

But “his heart was in the community,” said Anna Chang, a community organizer with the Chinatown Community Development Center. “He brought seniors to social services, INS or the Hall of Justice, if they needed to go to jury duty,” Chang said.

On the morning of the day of his attack, Yao Nan Xin volunteered at a tenants’ convention at the Gordon J. Lau school in Chinatown, Chang said.

“Everybody knows him, and everybody’s sad and outraged. How could somebody do this? Mugging seniors? He doesn’t have a lot of money. It’s very sad,” Chang said.

Canaan Xin said he wants to see the mugger arrested and prosecuted.

“I lost my father, there’s nothing he can do about it. I would like to see justice served on that guy so that the family can come to closure,” he said through an interpreter.

Witnesses are encouraged to call the San Francisco Police Department’s robbery division at (415) 553-1226 or the confidential tip line at (415) 575-4444.

amartin@examiner.comBay Area NewsLocal

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