SAN FRANCISCO -- A father of a 1-year old child is sharing his story after being brutally attacked outside a grocery store in San Francisco.
The incident has community leaders speaking out on the need for safer streets in order for businesses to thrive post-pandemic.
"My sense of security has been shattered," says the man who wants to be called "Bruce."
He recalled the terrible moment he was waiting to cross the street in the Mission Bay neighborhood with his child in a stroller, when he was suddenly knocked to the ground and attacked with a flurry of punches.
"I was right on the ground and in that exact second I was trying to shield my head and prevent any worse injuries," he said. "I couldn't protect my child. I was on the floor and he was in a stroller that was slowly rolling away, so it's definitely very scary as a parent."
When asked if he thought the incident was racially motivated, Bruce said the thought did cross his mind, especially given the random nature of the attack and the number of attacks on Asian Americans in the past year.
The incident is shocking to nearby business owners, such as Nani Tsegaye of Tadu Ethiopian restaurant. She says her store location in Mission Bay has actually been broken into and robbed more times than their Tenderloin location, and that dealing with crime is the price of doing business in San Francisco.
"It was a heartbreaking experience," she said. "We just expect something to happen now more than we expected before."
Vas Kirinis of NextSF and director of the Fillmore Merchant's Association, says it has never been easy to do business in the city -- Especially during this small business week and month where Mayor London Breed is challenging residents to buy small and local.
"The city needs to demonstrate that we are safe and clean and fun to be in again. Safety is of the utmost importance for us running out businesses so we really need to address this."
As for Bruce's suspected perpetrator, Sidney Hammond, ABC7's sister station, KGO, learned he was arrested less than a month earlier after an assault and for stealing at the same location.
Reporter Dion Lim reached out to the DA's office asking for comment. The response was that multiple felonies and misdemeanors were being filed against Hammond.
Bruce is speaking out to raise awareness, and has this wish:
"That my attacker can be somewhere where he can't harm anyone else or if he needs help he can get the help he needs."