A teenager arrested in the death of an 84-year-old man who was knocked to the ground while on his morning walk in the Anza Vista neighborhood pleaded not guilty Wednesday to murder and elder abuse charges.
Antoine Watson, a 19-year-old resident of Daly City, made his first court appearance at the Hall of Justice after being taken into custody Saturday in what police have described as an “unprovoked” attack on Vicha Ratanapakdee.
Authorities say Watson rushed across a street and pushed Ratanapakdee to the ground near Anzavista and Fortuna avenues last Thursday at around 8:28 a.m, causing him to hit his head on the pavement and slide into a garage door. Ratanapakdee died Saturday as a result of his injuries after being taken to a hospital.
The incident is being seen as the latest in a number of high-profile attacks against Asian American seniors in San Francisco, including the beating of a Visitacion Valley grandmother in 2019 and an assault on a man collecting recyclables in the Bayview last year. It is also being viewed in light of the pandemic spurring anti-Asian sentiment, although police have said there is no evidence the attack was a hate crime.
Ratanapakdee was originally from Thailand, according to a GoFundMe page from his family. The fundraiser has collected more than $30,000 after surveillance video of the attack went viral on social media.
Watson was arrested Saturday night when police executed a search warrant on Lisbon Street between Hillside…