Marc Mathieu Bronx man arrested in NYC Subway attack of Narayange Bodhi Sri Lanka man as prosecutors investigate whether to charge suspect with hate crime in surge of anti Asian crimes.
Marc Mathieu, 36, of the Bronx, was arrested late Sunday on the Staten Island Ferry, two days after he allegedly assaulted, 68-year-old stranger, Narayange Bodhi on a No. 1 train in an unprovoked attack in what authorities are now questioning was motivated by anti-Asian hate.
Bodhi, originally from Sri Lanka, was commuting to his job as a security guard at 2.40pm on Friday when the attacker ‘sucker punched’ him, leaving him floored and bloodied.
Despite police booking Mathieu with hate crime charges Monday, the Manhattan district attorney’s office to date had only charged the man with felony assault, the nydailynews reported.
‘The people are further investigating if this case is a hate crime,’ said Assistant District Attorney Katherine Demartini at Mathieu’s arraignment Monday.
‘You motherf—ing Asian!’
‘You motherf—ing Asian!’ the 6-foot-2 man is alleged to have said at the time of the attack according to witness, George Okrepkie, 55.
‘I could not believe that somebody would attack a man of that age,’ Okrepkie told WNBC-TV. ‘Before I could even look he was standing on top of him.’
The victim was taken to New York-Presbyterian Hospital Lower Manhattan, where he was initially reported in critical but stable condition. He is now recovering at home in the Bronx, according to his wife.
Bodhi’s family has reported that he suffers from bruising as well as memory loss of the incident.
Mathieu’s estranged wife and mother-in-law told The News he suffers from mental illness, but hasn’t been known him to harbor any racial biases.
‘Me personally I know he’s a psychopath and an angry person, and I know he’s a violent person, but I cannot attest to him being a racially aggressive person or having that kind of discrimination,’ said the estranged wife, Yasmin Mathieu.
‘He wouldn’t target a person or group,’ she continued. ‘Honestly, what I think happened is he was already upset and thought this person said something to him, or heard something in his own head and thought it was coming from him [the victim], and he attacked him.’
Surge in anti Asian hate crime nationally
Mathieu who has nine prior arrests, had previously been arrested for assault and failure to appear in court, and just a day before the attack was charged with menacing and criminal mischief in the Bronx, Demartini said.
‘He’s got psychoaffective disorder, he’s bipolar, he’s got a whole lot of issues,’ said his mother-in-law, Yvonne Concepcion. ‘If he’s in one of his states he’s not looking at anyone he’s just — you know, he’s not focusing on anything. He’s just focusing on getting his frustration out.’
Manhattan Criminal Court Judge Michael Gaffey set Mathieu’s bail at $10,000 cash or $50,000 bond.
Friday’s assault comes amid national outcry over anti-Asian violence, which has skyrocketed during the coronavirus pandemic.
Last week, the NYPD revealed that it had recorded has recorded a 1,300 percent increase in anti-Asian hate crimes during the pandemic.
The Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism found anti‐Asian hate crimes rose from 49 crimes in 2019 to 122 in 2020, an increase of 149%. Researchers faulted negative stereotyping of Asians during the early rise of COVID-19 cases last spring for the first spike.
The spike in hate crimes against Asian Americans was even more glaring because overall hate crimes dropped 7% overall, amid pandemic-driven closures of businesses, schools and public gatherings.