Police Link Teen Who Allegedly Beat Elderly Woman to Separate Crimes

The attack in Visitacion Valley sent 88-year-old Yik Oi Huang to the hospital, where she remains in critical condition.

A San Francisco Police officer displays enlarged photos of suspect Keonte Gathron, 18, who was arrested in the assault of 88-year-old Yik Oi Huang at SFPD headquarters on Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2019. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)

The 18-year-old accused of severely beating a grandmother in Visitacion Valley earlier this month was arrested after committing a series of subsequent crimes, police said Wednesday.

Police arrested Keonte Gathron, a San Francisco resident, on Saturday as a suspect of a carjacking and robbing phone two teenagers, each at gunpoint. He is linked to the brutal beating of 88-year-old Yik Oi Huang on Jan. 8, police officials said at a news conference on Wednesday.

Huang is still in critical condition and a GoFundMe for her medical treatments has raised more than $15,000 as of Wednesday afternoon. The attack struck fear in Visitacion Valley seniors. 

“It is heartbreaking to see this type of senseless violence in our community and no one should ever endure this level of barbarism,” Supervisor Shamann Walton said earlier this month. “We will not tolerate acts of violence in our community.” 

Yik Oi Huang is in critical condition after an attack in Visitacion Valley. (Photo courtesy Sasanna Yee/Facebook)

 

Police found Huang with severe head injuries at a park next to Visitacion Valley Elementary School on Leland Avenue around 6:45 a.m. on Jan. 8 after responding to her home nearby. They were unable to locate a suspect, who a witness reported seeing leaving the residence from an interior staircase.

Investigators believe Gathron assaulted Huang, who regularly goes to the park for morning exercises and stole her keys to burglarize her home before a witness interrupted him. 

In the weeks after police and supervisors called on the public to help identify a suspect, DNA linked to Gathron the same hour he was identified as a suspect for additional crimes. (Police have his DNA profile from past contacts with law enforcement but could not divulge what nature since he was a juvenile, the Examiner reports.)

Gathron is suspected of an armed carjacking on Jan. 16 on the 1600 block of Visitacion Valley Avenue, a few blocks from where Huang was found. The car was later found at a shuttered gas station on San Bruno Avenue, according to police.

On Jan. 19 around 4:45 p.m., a man on a red bicycle robbed a 14-year-old girl of her cell phone on the 1000 block of Woolsey Avenue in the Portola neighborhood. At 6 p.m., a suspect with the same description punched a 17-year-old girl in the face and robbed her phone on Charles and Belle avenues, near the Daly City BART station.

Police traced one of the cell phones to Sunnydale when Gathron, whose clothing matched the description, fled on foot and was shortly found hiding in a vehicle.

Gathron was booked into jail with several charges, including attempted murder, kidnapping, elder abuse, aggravated assault, child endangerment, and burglary. He is scheduled for arraignment on Thursday.

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