A GoFundMe for the Filipino-American woman viciously stomped in broad daylight near Times Square last week has climbed to over $258,000 just nine days after the horrific attack caught on surveillance video.
Vilma Kari, 65, was minding her own business last Monday morning, and out of nowhere a man about double her size walks up, kicks her square in the chest, and knocks her to the sidewalk. After yelling, “You don’t belong here!” the man viciously kicks Kari in the head as she lies defenseless.
The attack in the Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood of NYC happened just outside a building where security guards inside are seen in surveillance video doing absolutely nothing—in fact, they close the doors and stare as Kari lies limp on the concrete. She suffered pelvic fractures, among other serious injuries, and was discharged from the hospital last Tuesday.
The woman’s daughter, Elizabeth Kari, set up the GoFundMe to help raise funds for her mother’s recovery and to support other victims of hate crimes, amid a recent wave of anti-Asian violence across the country.
“We are blessed and humbled by your uplifting messages and reminded that despite how unique and different we may be from one another, we can still come together just as strong, compassionate, and resilient.” Kari wrote on the GoFundMe page.
As of Wednesday morning, the fundraiser has nearly $256,000 in donations, with more coming in every hour. Kari said her family hopes it raises awareness to the violence plaguing the community, and that thankfully her mother is on the mend.
“I am happy to share she is safe and in good spirits,” Kari writes. “Although the healing process will not be easy, she has always been a resilient role model for me. We are hopeful that in time she will make a full recovery.”
The NYPD has since named the attacker as 38-year-old Brandon Elliot, who, according to the Times, was recently paroled for stabbing and killing his own mother in 2002. He has been charged with a hate crime felony assault, which could land him in prison for 25 years.
The doormen of the building have since been fired for watching the attack unfold and not following, “required emergency and safety protocols,” according to the Midtown building’s executive director, Rick Mason, the Times reported.
Kari noted on the fundraiser page that one bystander did step in to help. According to Kari, the pedestrian started screaming and trying to get Elliot’s attention as he assaulted Kari, and then Elliot crossed the street to engage with the bystander.
“I want to THANK YOU for stepping in and doing the right thing,” Kari wrote. “This gesture of action is what we need in our world right now.”