A woman was stalked and stabbed to death in her Chinatown apartment.
She worked at an online music service as a creative producer. There were a lot of misdemeanor arrests on the record of the 25-year-old man who was charged with her death.
In the early hours of Sunday, a man who had been following the woman from the street to her apartment in Lower Manhattan stabbed the woman to death, the police said. She was 35 years old.
She was Christina Yuna Lee, and she was the last person of Asian descent to be hurt or killed in a string of random attacks in New York City, many of them carried out by people who were very ill.
Footage from the New York Post shows Ms. Lee being trailed to her building on Chrystie Street in Chinatown by a man who grabs the door behind her and follows her in. In the video, Ms. Lee enters the building vestibule just before 4:30 a.m. and walks down the hallway out of the camera’s view. The man, who police say is Assamad Nash, 25, is following her.
A short time after that, neighbors called the police to report a disturbance, the police said. When they arrived at the building, the door to Ms. Lee’s apartment was locked, and Mr. Nash was inside.
Ms. Lee was found dead in her bathtub when police officers broke into her home, they said. Police say that Mr. Nash tried to get out of a back window. The people told us that he was arrested in the apartment that we were in. He was taken to Bellevue Hospital because he had cuts and lacerations.
People at Splice, a website that lets people download digital music, say that Lee was a Rutgers University grad and worked as a senior creative producer. It says that she also worked on photo and video campaigns for brands like Marriott International and Equinox.
Mr. Nash has been arrested for misdemeanors before, court records show. In September, a 62-year-old man told police that Mr. Nash had hit him in the face after the man swiped his MetroCard for another passenger at the Grand Street station, which is near where the killing took place.
Though the police have not called the killing a hate crime, attacks on Asian Americans have been on the rise since the coronavirus pandemic began in 2009. A 40-year-old Asian American woman was pushed to her death while waiting for a southbound R train at Times Square last month. In December, the Police Department said that such attacks had gone up 361% from the previous year.
During a hate crime hearing last week, a man named Jarrod Powell, 50, was charged with second-degree murder. Yao Pan Ma, a Chinese immigrant who was 61 years old, died in December from injuries he got in an East Harlem fight in April.
Police say that it doesn’t look like Ms. Lee knew her attacker or had any contact with him before he followed her home from work.
Steps away from the Grand Street metro station, she lived in a six-story walk-up apartment. Police kept an eye on the building on Sunday afternoon as snow started to fall. Only residents and detectives could go inside. In China, there was a small grocery store that advertised cigarettes and soda in Chinese that closed.
When Andrew Oaks, 30, was awake at 4:30 in the morning, he heard screams that sounded like “something out of a movie.” Oaks lives in the building. He said he “thought nothing of it” until he heard banging on the door and the police started questioning residents later in the morning, when he heard them.
He called the stabbing “horrific” in a tweet Sunday afternoon. “We stand with our Asian community today,” he added.
“While the person who did this horrible thing is now in custody, the conditions that led to him still exist,” Mr. Adams said in a statement after he tweeted about it. Mission: “We will not let this violence go unchecked.”
This is what Yuh-Line Niou, who represents the district, said. The attack was a “worst nightmare scenario.”
It took “almost an hour and a half to get to her,” said Ms. Niou.
She said that the rallies she and other Asian American community leaders have had to go to in the last few weeks had worn her out emotionally. One about a Korean diplomat who was assaulted two days ago was one of them.
There have been too many vigils for her and her family to go to, she said.
Assault, harassment, and selling a fare card are all misdemeanors that Mr. Nash has been charged with at least four times last year, court records show. On the internet, court records show that three of the cases are still going on. A spokesman for the Legal Aid Society, which is representing him in the open cases, said he couldn’t talk about them.
Police let Mr. Nash go with a desk-appearance ticket in the assault case and in an earlier case in which he was arrested for illegally selling a fare card, court records show. At his arraignment on Oct. 13, the judge let him go without bail, the records show.
On January 8, Mr. Nash was arrested again. He was charged with criminal mischief and having a forged piece of paper. Allegedly, over the course of a month, he took down several MetroCard vending machines at Herald Square, Penn Station, and Second Avenue. Cops say that when he was arrested, he tried to get out of a holding van because he had bent MetroCards.
In court, a judge put Mr. Nash on supervised release, which means that he has to check in with the judge three times a month, twice in person and once by phone, the records show.