Attackers of FilAm women arrested

Brandon Elliot; Tammel Esco

There is some sense of relief and a feeling of cautious optimism within the Filipino American community following reports that attackers of two Filipino women have been identified and locked up.

The Yonkers Police Department announced on July 20 the indictment of Tammel Esco, 42, on hate crime charges, specifically for hitting his Filipino neighbor — a 67-year-old woman from the Ilocos region  — in the Bronx 125 times as she was about to enter her apartment. The charges include attempted murder in the second degree as a hate crime, assault in the first degree as a hate crime, and three counts of assault in the second degree as a hate crime.

The attack was described in a YPD press statement: “On March 11, 2022, in an apartment building on Riverdale Avenue in Yonkers, Esco approached an Asian woman inside the vestibule of the building. Esco was captured on security cameras punching the 67-year-old Asian woman more than 100 times, repeatedly stomping on her, then spitting on her, all while yelling racially offensive slurs at her.”

The defendant was arraigned in Westchester County Court on July 19, and is being held without bail.

Esco follows the Filipina to her apartment and punches her 125 times.

“He will now have to face the justice system to answer for his actions as the courts hold him accountable for this violent crime. The Yonkers Police Department does not tolerate violence in our city, especially not acts of violence rooted in bias,” said Yonkers Police Commissioner Christopher Sapienza. 

Esco is known to law enforcement as having a long rap sheet that includes more than a dozen arrests and convictions.

Vilma Kari’s mugger

Brandon Elliot, 38, the suspect behind the attack of Vilma Kari was arrested in New York City on March 31, 2021 or two days after the March 29 assault. Kari was on her way to church in midtown Manhattan when she was beaten and kicked to the ground by Elliot as shown in surveillance videos around the building on 43rd Street. He reportedly made anti-Asian statements while committing the attack.   Police described Elliot as a convicted murderer who has served time for stabbing his mother to death 20 years ago.  

Two doormen witnessed the attack. But instead of rushing to Kari’s rescue, they closed the door of the building ostensibly to protect its guests. They were later fired. Elliot is charged with two counts of felony assault as a hate crime.  

Kari who harbors the trauma of that day and is still recovering from her injuries, said she prays for Elliot. “I pray for him, because I felt he needed prayers.”

“That’s a start. Putting people in jail will make people hesitate,” said one member of the community who requested anonymity. “I’m not saying it will deter everybody, but word will spread around.”

© The FilAm 2022

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