A san-francisco” target=”_blank”>San Francisco< on two older Asian women refused to come out of his jail cell Friday, forcing his arraignment to be postponed until Monday.
Patrick Thompson, 53, who allegedly stabbed the women while they were waiting to catch a bus on Market Street, will be held without bail.
Thompson has a history of mental illness and an extensive arrest record, according to KPIX-TV in San Francisco, which reported he had been arrested more than two dozen times in the last 20 years, citing a police source.
He had been doing well on a mental health program but his lawyer said many of the services weren’t available during the coronavirus pandemic.
He could face life in prison for the apparently random attacks, which his lawyer, public defender Eric Fleischaker claimed were not racially motivated and resulted from the suspect’s mental health issues.
“Sadly, many life-saving social services have not been available during the COVID crisis, and the lack of consistent care led to this situation, which is tragic for all involved,” Fleischaker said.
Thompson has been charged with attempted murder, assault with a deadly weapon and elder abuse.
After being arrested for stabbing a man with scissors in 2017, Thompson was found incompetent and sent to a state mental hospital, according to KPIX. He was released after two years.
A witness told KGO-TV that Thompson was carrying a large knife with knuckles on the handle on Tuesday and without warning attacked the women.
“The knife punctured one victim’s lungs, requiring extensive surgery,” the district attorney’s office said. “A knife had to be removed from another victim at the hospital.”
District Attorney Chesa Boudin has been criticized for saying he plans to prosecute the case himself.
The San Francisco Police Officers Association called the move a “political stunt.”
“The victims in this case and their families deserve the most experienced violent crime prosecutor in court today and not a criminal defense attorney with zero experience prosecuting any crime,” said Tony Montoya, president of the association, which opposed Boudin’s candidacy for district attorney.
Boudin’s focus on restorative justice over mass incarceration has also come under fire.
Both of the victims, who police said were 65 and 84, were expected to survive.
“We were able to visit grandma today!” Victoria Eng said of her grandmother, who she identified as Chui Flong Eng, 85, on a crowdfunding page. “It was so emotional walking in and seeing her.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.