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Suspect arrested in attacks on 7 Asian women in Manhattan

New York — A suspect has been arrested for allegedly attacking Asian women in Manhattan.

The NYPD said Wednesday that 28-year-old Steven Zajonc had been arrested and charged with assault as a hate crime, attempted assault as a hate crime, aggravated harassment and harassment.

As CBS New York’s Aundrea Cline-Thomas reports, police said seven women were targeted Sunday in different incidents between 6:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m., stretching from Madison Avenue and East 30th Street to Broadway and East Eighth Street.

Police say each victim was Asian, between the ages of 19 and 57, and they were punched or elbowed in the face. The NYPD said no words were spoken between the suspects and his victims.

“I try not to let it totally change my life, but at the same time I’ve noticed there’s an uptick in that stuff. So, I’m a little bit more cautious, I guess,” East Side resident Claire Hannett said.

“I don’t know it’s mental health, if it’s the conditions we’re living in, if it’s the difficulties that these people are facing,” Nash Petrovic said.

“I’m a little more cautious, especially when I ride the subway,” Kami Ohebshalom said.

Still, this just adds to the growing fear, especially within the Asian community, as crime continues to plague the city.

“We just have to do our best, be hopeful and be vigilant. There’s not much we can do about it,” said Rebecca Mao, a tourist from Michigan.

The NYPD’s Hate Crime Task Force is investigating.

The victims mostly suffered swelling to the face or cuts to the lip. One was taken to the hospital.

As CBS New York’s Jenna DeAngelis reports, we’re told Zajonc made no statements to police after his arrest, so the motive is unclear.

He has no prior arrest history in New York City. He is believed to be experiencing homelessness with a prior address in Florida.

Anyone with any information is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477), or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782). You can also submit a tip via their website or via DM on Twitter, @NYPDTips. All calls are kept confidential.

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