A woman who was attacked in Queens in November died from her injuries last week, her family said, the latest death in a series of attacks in New York City against people of Asian descent.
The woman, GuiYing Ma, 61, was attacked on Nov. 26 as she was sweeping a sidewalk in the North Corona neighborhood of Queens, a spokesman for the New York City Police Department said on Tuesday.
A witness told the police that she was struck in the head with a large rock, suffering multiple lacerations.
A suspect, Elisaul Perez, 33, was arrested near the scene and charged with assault and harassment, according to the police spokesman, Sgt. Brendan Ryan.
The crime was reported to the N.Y.P.D. Hate Crime Task Force, the authorities said.
With Ms. Ma’s death, it was unclear whether Mr. Perez would face additional charges. The Queens District Attorney’s Office did not immediately return a request for comment on Tuesday.
Mr. Perez had at least 11 prior arrests, Sgt. Ryan said.
A GoFundMe page established for Ms. Ma, who arrived in New York four years ago from China, said the attack permanently damaged the right side of her brain, leaving her connected to a ventilator and feeding tube and in a coma until early February. She died on Feb. 22, the page said.
“This is a tragedy,” Mayor Eric Adams said in a statement on Twitter on Monday. “GuiYing Ma was a New Yorker and she deserved better than this.” Mr. Adams had made improving public safety a theme of his successful campaign for mayor last year.
Letitia James, the New York attorney general, said on Facebook, “These hateful acts of violence against our Asian communities must come to an end.”
Violence against Asian Americans in New York has soared during the pandemic. Some of the attacks have not been classified as hate crimes, prompting outrage among leaders and members of the community.
In New York State, to charge such attacks as hate crimes, prosecutors would need to show that the victims were targeted because of their race. However, proving a racist motive can be particularly difficult with attacks against Asians, experts say. There is no widely recognized symbol of anti-Asian hate comparable to a noose or a swastika.
At least three other people of Asian descent have died after violent attacks in New York since December.
On Dec. 31, a Chinese immigrant died after an attack April that police said was a hate crime left him in a coma. In January, a woman was shoved to her death in front of a subway train in Times Square, and another was stabbed to death inside her Lower Manhattan apartment last month by a man who had followed her into her building, the police said.