89-Year-Old Grandmother Dies One Year After Severe Attack

The Visitacion Valley resident died from her injuries days before an anniversary event to commemorate the attack.

An 89-year-old woman who spent the past year recovering from a severe attack in Visitacion Valley died on Friday, her family said over the weekend.

Yik Oi Huang succumbed to critical injuries she spent nearly a year fighting after an attack near her home on Jan. 8 2019, which shook seniors in the area. Huang’s death came days before an event planned to commemorate the attack and heal the community, a GoFundMe post by family members said Friday.

At the time of the attack, Huang was doing her regular morning exercises at Visitacion Valley Playground across from her home. She was left with facial and skull fractures in addition to a brain injury.

An 18-year-old suspect, Keonte Gathron, was arrested later that month after allegedly burglarizing Huang’s home among other crimes. He pled not guilty and has court appearances scheduled for this month.

In the aftermath of the assault, officials like supervisors Shamann Walton, Norman Yee, and Hillary Ronen stood by Huang’s grandaughter Sasanna Yee to denounce the violence and call for culturally competent police officers. Marlene Tran, a Visitacion Valley community advocate said that a language barrier does not ease distrust Asian communities might have of police while seniors were afraid to continue their routines like Huang.

“People are so scared because we have a huge senior population,” Tran said. “This is a huge shock to the community.”

Huang died on Friday afternoon, nearly a year after the attack. Family members are still raising money on GoFundMe after a year of “unexpected emotional and financial hardship” of Huang in the hospital and now her funeral expenses.

She was described as a “rosy-cheeked, jolly grandmother” by Yee and will be commemorated as such during the anniversary event on Wednesday. The Healing Through Compassion and Solidarity Silent Sit-In will be held from 7:30 to 10 a.m. at the Visitacion Valley Playground where Huang was attacked.

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