Thompson has been intermittently involved in the city’s criminal justice and mental health systems for several years, the DA's office said. Nearly four years ago, he was arrested and charged with assault with a deadly weapon and battery, according to court records reviewed by the San Francisco Chronicle. A judge at the time found him incompetent to stand trial and ordered him to receive mental health treatment at a state hospital in Napa.
When Thompson returned to San Francisco in 2018, he entered a mental health diversion program in lieu of detention. Thompson’s defense attorney last year sought his exit from the program, which a judge granted, the DA said.
Family members of one of the victims, the woman in her mid-80s, whose status was changed on Wednesday from threatening to non-life threatening, have started a GoFundMe account to cover her medical expenses. The campaign has already raised nearly $100,000 as of Thursday evening, almost twice its goal.
"While she was waiting at the bus stop, she was stabbed with a long knife in her right arm and entered into her chest," Drew Eng, the victim's grandson, wrote on the GoFundMe page. "San Francisco is my home and my grandma's home. We need to feel safe where we live and not in constant fear. Please keep her and our family in your thoughts and prayers."
In March, following a mass shooting in Georgia that killed six Asian women and two others, Mayor London Breed directed the SFPD to ramp up foot patrols in neighborhoods with high concentrations of Asian American residents and businesses.
Supervisor Matt Haney, who represents the district where the attack took place, said he supports investigating the incident as a potential hate crime.
"We've seen these types of deliberate, intentional, targeted attacks on Asian people so often that I don't think it's just a coincidence. I think that they're being targeted," Haney said.
Haney added that such violence has ripple effects across San Francisco.
"This has huge impacts on our city when people are afraid to go outside, they're afraid to go onto public transit — our city can't operate and our city is failing," he said.