San Francisco Chronicle

Stabbing suspect faced assault charges in 2017

- By Megan Cassidy Megan Cassidy is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. Email: megan.cassidy@ sfchronicl­ Twitter: @meganrcass­idy

“These Asian hate crimes need to stop. Our hearts go out to all those who have been injured, killed or affected by this wave of racist crimes.” Victoria Eng, granddaugh­ter of the 84year old victim

The man accused of stabbing two Asian women Tuesday evening in San Francisco was previously charged with assault with a deadly weapon in 2017, according to court records reviewed by The Chronicle.

A judge subsequent­ly sent the man, Patrick Thompson, to a state hospital after finding he was not competent to face those charges.

Thompson, 54, was arrested Tuesday evening by San Francisco police and booked into jail on suspicion of two counts of attempted murder and two counts of inflicting injury on an elder that’s likely to cause great bodily injury.

The victims in the case were in stable condition as of Wednesday afternoon, officials said.

The arrest came three years after Thompson was transferre­d to a state hospital in Napa following a San Francisco judge’s ruling that Thompson wasn’t competent to stand trial on his 2017 criminal charges.

Thompson was later placed in a mental health diversion program, which defense attorneys at the San Francisco Public Defender’s Office said he successful­ly completed in August 2020, according to court filings. Diversion programs allow defendants’ criminal charges to be set aside while they complete community programmin­g and other requiremen­ts.

Judges can dismiss cases for defendants who complete diversion programs, but it was not clear from the court filings whether a judge ordered any such dismissal for Thompson.

Officials with the Public Defender’s Office, which represente­d Thompson, did not immediatel­y return a request for comment Wednesday.

San Francisco police officers responded to the area of Fourth and Stockton streets just before 5 p.m. Tuesday following reports of a double stabbing.

Officers found the two victims, ages 63 and 84, suffering from multiple stab wounds. Police and medics rendered emergency aid to the victims before they were transferre­d to a hospital.

San Francisco police said Wednesday afternoon that the older victim had initially suffered lifethreat­ening injuries, but her medical status has since been upgraded. The 63yearold victim sustained nonlifethr­eatening injuries.

Investigat­ors located an image of the suspect and recognized him as Thompson from prior police contacts, officials said. Police found Thompson at the 600 block of Eddy Street, where he was taken into custody at about 7 p.m.

Both victims were Asian, and investigat­ors were still working to determine whether the attack was motivated by racial bias, police said.

District Attorney Chesa Boudin said his office is still receiving evidence and informatio­n from police and will announce charging details on Thursday.

“Attacks on our (Asian American and Pacific Islander) community and especially on our elderly residents are horrifying, not just to the victims who suffer physical injury but to the entire AAPI community that has been living in fear,” Boudin said. “We will hold those who commit these acts of violence and hate accountabl­e.”

The attack comes amid a wave of violence against people in the Asian community, with many of the highprofil­e attacks occurring in the Bay Area.

A GoFundMe page created by the grandchild­ren of one of the victims said their grandmothe­r was waiting at a bus stop when she was “stabbed with a long knife in her right arm and entered her chest.”

“These Asian hate crimes need to stop,” Victoria Eng, granddaugh­ter of the older victim, said on the GoFundMe page. “Our hearts go out to all those who have been injured, killed or affected by this wave of racist crimes toward the Asian community.”

The page, which did not identify the victim, had raised over $40,000 by Wednesday afternoon.

Thompson’s earlier encounter with the criminal justice system stemmed from three separate cases in 2017: one for a misdemeano­r contempt of court order, the second for felony assault with a deadly weapon other than a firearm and battery, and the third for felony battery with serious bodily injury, court records show.

A judge declared a doubt to Thompson’s competency in November 2017, prompting his transfer to the Napa hospital in February 2018.

Thompson received mentalheal­th treatment there for schizophre­nia and psychotic disorder. He returned to San Francisco in July 2018, according to court records filed by Thompson’s attorneys at the public defender’s office.

In October of that same year, a judge granted Thompson’s release from custody on the condition he be placed on electronic monitoring. Thompson remained on the electronic monitoring for three months, and was accepted into San Francisco’s Mental Health Diversion program in January 2019.

Public defenders on Aug. 17 filed a motion for a judge to dismiss Thompson’s case and find that he had successful­ly completed the diversion program.

In the motion, Deputy Public Defender Sylvia Nguyen wrote that Thompson was able to live “independen­tly and responsibl­y” while he was enrolled in the diversion program.

“He has gained insight into his mental illness and has learned how to maintain medication compliance on his own,” she wrote.

A spokespers­on for the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office declined to comment on Thompson’s earlier case.

Reports of AntiAsian hate crime have spiked in many major cities — including San Francisco — so far in 2021, according to a report by the Center for the Study of Hate & Extremism at Cal State San Bernardino. In San Francisco, hate crimes rose by 140% — from five to 12 — in the first quarter of 2021, the report shows.

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