BLOOMINGTON, Indiana (AP) — A 56-year-old woman has been charged after an 18-year-old Indiana University student was repeatedly stabbed in the head in an attack on a public bus, the school says, because the victim is Asian.
The victim told investigators that she was standing on a Bloomington Transit bus Wednesday afternoon, waiting for the exit doors to open, when another passenger began hitting her on the head, Bloomington Police said in a release .
Bus surveillance footage showed no interaction between the two women prior to the attack.
A witness, also riding the bus, followed the woman’s attacker and contacted police, who later arrested Bloomington’s Billie R. Davis. According to court documents, Davis was charged with attempted murder and aggravated assault.
The victim was treated at a hospital for multiple stab wounds. Her name has not been published.
Court documents show Davis said the victim was assaulted because of her race, according to WNDU-TV.
Citing court records, WRTV-TV reports that Davis told police she stabbed the woman in the head multiple times with a jackknife because it would be “one less person to blow up our country.”
Records did not list an attorney representing Davis.
“This week, Bloomington was sadly reminded that anti-Asian hatred is real and can have painful effects on individuals and our community,” James Wimbush, Indiana University’s vice president for diversity, equity and multicultural affairs, said in a statement. “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 rich diversity of identities and perspectives that make up our campus and community culture.”
Bloomington is in southern Indiana. Mayor John Hamilton called behavior like the bus attack “unacceptable” and said it would be “treated appropriately.”
“We know that when a racially motivated incident like this resonates throughout the community, we can feel less safe,” Hamilton said in a statement Saturday. “We stand with the Asian community and anyone who feels threatened by this event.”
In recent years, Asian Americans have increasingly been the target of racially motivated harassment and assault, particularly in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.