A convenience store in Charlotte, North Carolina, became the site of targeted violence against Asian-Americans last week.
According to CMPD, a man wielding a metal post entered the Plaza Sundries in the CATS Center downtown on Tuesday. Surveillance video shows 24-year-old Xavier Rashee Woody-Silas destroying merchandise while shouting anti-Asian slurs at the store’s owners.
Police said a nearby security guard at the transit center arrested Woody-Silas shortly after the incident. He was later handed over to CMPD and charged with robbery with a dangerous weapon, communicating threats, disorderly conduct, injury to personal property and resisting a public officer, according to public records.
The CATS spokesperson said police are also pursuing a potential charge under NC’s hate crimes statute for the racial slurs Woody-Silas is accused of saying to the store clerk.
Mark Sung told WBTV his parents, Joyce and Mun Sung, have owned Plaza Sundries convenience store since 1995, and said he recognized Woody-Silas.
“He’s a regular,” Sung said. “But that day he just walked in the store with a metal pole. No one sees it at first until he starts hitting things with it. His friend came towards the end, stuck his head through the door and said ‘That’s what you get. That’s what you get you Chinese motherf******.’”
Sung says this is not the first time the store has been vandalized. “It happens pretty often. At least once a year.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has created anger that has led to some people blaming Asian-American for the outbreak. Former president Donald Trump has fueled the xenophobia by using derogatory terms when referring to the virus.
Hate crimes nationally against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have increased 150% during the pandemic, according to a study by the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University, San Bernardino. A recent example of the hatred is a gunman killing eight people (six of them Asian-American) in three separate shootings around Atlanta, GA last month.
“It’s easy for people to attack us because we’re the minority,” Sung said. “I’ve faced racism growing up here in Charlotte my whole life so it’s nothing new.”
A GoFundMe page started by the Sung family has raised over $31,000 since the incident.