San Francisco officials reported an unidentified suspect beat and robbed a woman of Asian descent who was riding a BART train on Tuesday, prompting an investigation if the incident was a hate crime.

Asian Victim

The Asian American and Pacific Islander community has expressed their criticism of the incident amid the rising number of violent crimes against people of color in California. Many users shared photos of the victim on social media platforms. The images showed her face bruised and swollen from the attack.

Authorities said the unnamed woman was attacked while on a BART train on her way to the 16th and Mission station at around 8:00 a.m. on Tuesday. She was then suddenly approached by the suspect who demanded her phone. However, the man immediately assaulted the victim before running away with her possessions.

While BART police said they were not classifying the attack as a hate crime, the frequency of attacks on Asian residents in the Bay Area has surged.

“We need to do something about this immediately. Let’s make sure victims know they can get the full range of support and we remove any barriers associated with that,” Chinatown Affirmative Action’s Cynthia Choi said.

A friend of the victim of the BART train attack said she was already at a local hospital and resting from her injuries, NBC Bay Area reported.