Indiana University says a student was stabbed on the bus because of his Asian heritage

Indiana University says an 18-year-old student was attacked and stabbed on a bus in Bloomington because he was Asian.

The student was attacked on a Bloomington transit bus on Wednesday afternoon.

Billie Davis, 56, has been charged with attempted murder, aggravated assault and assault with a deadly weapon, according to online court documents.

It was not clear if the defendant had an attorney who could speak for them. The public defender’s office for Monroe County, Indiana, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

An 18-year-old woman from Carmel, Indiana, told investigators that another passenger repeatedly hit her on the head while waiting for the bus doors to open, police said in a statement.

The student, who has not been publicly identified, had multiple stab wounds to her head, was bleeding and was taken to a hospital, police said.

Police said based on the video, the woman and the suspect had not had any interaction prior to the attack.

Police did not respond to a question about whether the attack was being investigated as a hate crime.

This week, Bloomington was sadly reminded that anti-Asian hatred is real and can have painful effects on individuals and our community,” said James Wimbush, Indiana University vice president for diversity, equity and multicultural affairs. “No one should be subject to harassment or violence because of their background, ethnicity or heritage. Instead, the Bloomington and IU communities are stronger because of the tremendous diversity of identities and perspectives that make up our campus and community culture.”

The university offers advisory support to members of the community who need it.

The university’s Asian Culture Center called the attack “a horrific and targeted anti-Asian hate crime.”

“Our thoughts go out to the victim of this horrific act, her family and everyone in the community affected by this racist violence,” it said in a statement on Friday. “We are outraged and heartbroken by this unprovoked act of violence, but we are also concerned for the well-being of our community.”

The university’s Asian Culture Center hosted an event Friday for students and community members to “process feelings of fear, sadness, anger and fear,” according to the center’s Facebook.

Indiana’s hate crime law, enacted in 2019, allows judges to impose harsher sentences when “biased” factors such as “color, creed, disability, national origin, race, religion” motivated the crime, according to the Matthew Shepard Foundation.

Because lawmakers intentionally eliminated gender identity and gender as possible motivating factors, the Anti-Defamation League said Indiana will remain on its list of states with no hate crime laws.

Dennis Romero contributed.