A Filipino health worker died from serious head injuries after being knocked down in New York City by a fleeing homeless theft suspect who was thought to be mentally disturbed.
In a statement posted on social media on Sunday, the Philippine Consulate General in New York said,
“We grieve with the rest of the Filipino Community over the death of our kababayan, Maria Ambrocio, a 58-year-old health frontliner from Bayonne, New Jersey, who is the latest victim of deranged individuals on the loose in New York City,”
According to the consulate, Ambrocio died after being taken off life support.
She was on life support after suffering head trauma Friday afternoon when she was “knocked down by someone described as a mentally disturbed homeless man.”
“Maria was walking with a kababayan near Times Square after visiting the Philippine Consulate General when she was struck by the suspect who was reportedly being chased after grabbing a mobile phone from someone,”the consulate said.
“The incident is the latest in the series of violent acts committed by mentally-ill individuals against members of the Filipino Community in New York City since the start of the year,”the consulate added.
Ambrocio’s niece, Michelle Sta. Maria Magalona, told Teleradyo that the homeless man is now in police custody.
“Nahuli siya…kasi nung nabangga niya si Tita, he was running kasi naghablot siya ng cellphone…After a few blocks, nahuli naman siya and nasa custody naman ng police now,” she said.
Since January of this year, several Filipinos, mostly senior citizens, have been “violently assaulted by individuals with mental health issues,” according to the consulate.
“We have joined calls for authorities to take the necessary steps, including heightened police visibility, to protect the public after we noted the surge in anti-Asian hate incidents that targeted some of our kababayan,” it said.
“We also supported calls for authorities to take the necessary measures to address mental health issues, especially among the homeless. We reiterate these calls as we mourn our loss but we also ask ourselves: How many more Maria Ambrocios do we have to mourn before the streets would be made safe again?” the consulate added.
The consulate said it will hold a memorial mass for Ambrocio on Monday afternoon.