The suspect accused of stabbing two elderly Asian women in San Francisco earlier this week is now facing multiple charges, including premeditated attempted murder, prosecutors said Thursday.
Patrick Thompson, 54, was charged with two counts of premeditated attempted murder, two counts of assault with a deadly weapon, and two counts of elder abuse — with enhancements for great bodily injury, great bodily injury on elders, and personal use of a deadly weapon, the district attorney’s office said in a statement.
“These charges carry a potential life sentence. We are still investigating whether there are other charges or allegations that can be brought in this case, and are working with the police department to determine if there is evidence to support hate crime allegations,” the statement added.
Graphic video shows the man, who police allege is Thompson, walking up behind two elderly women Tuesday as they stood at a bus stop in broad daylight.
The suspect pulls out a knife and slashes them both before bystanders rush over and he eventually flees.
“The knife punctured one victim’s lungs, requiring extensive surgery,” according to the district attorney’s office. “A knife had to be removed from another victim at the hospital.”
Authorities initially said the women were 65 and 84 years old, however, a family member said the elder victim was 85. The district attorney’s office said it is not releasing the victim’s names.
Thompson was taken into custody shortly after the incident and booked on two charges of attempted murder and elder abuse, according to authorities.
Police arrested Thompson in 2017 in separate cases, and during those proceedings, a judge found him incompetent to stand trial and he was sent to a state mental hospital, according to the district attorney’s office.
In 2018, Thompson was sent to a state Mental Health Diversion program that gives judges discretion to divert a case in “favor of intensive, court-monitored treatment and services.”
A judge allowed him to be released from the program after nearly two years. He wasn’t charged with any new offenses. However, he was arrested on warrants for missing court dates, including in April 2020, when he was found to be in possession of a drug pipe, prosecutors said.
“What happened is a devastating tragedy, and we will use the full force of our office’s resources to prosecute this case. We also need to work hard to stop the next crime from happening, and that involves prevention and treatment,” the district attorney’s office said in a statement. “We need far more intensive tools that keep people who are mentally ill-treated and supported so that they do not re-offend even when there is no pending criminal case.”
The attack this week follows a number of others against Asian Americans nationwide.
Fox News’ Michael Ruiz and The Associated Press contributed to this report