Updated April 3 at 6 p.m.
A man was arrested and charged with attacking a Korean convenience store in downtown Charlotte on Tuesday, after owners said the attacker entered the store and began smashing the store’s coolers with a sign metal and shout racial insults at them.
The attack took place on Tuesday, March 30 at the Plaza Sundries convenience store at the Charlotte Transit Center in upscale neighborhoods. Surveillance video posted on YouTube shows a person entering the store and knocking over a merchandise display, then violently swinging a metal sign post at the store’s soda coolers as customers rush out of the store.
The attacker, dressed in a camouflage coat and black beanie, failed to smash coolers near the front of the store, but smashed the door of a cooler near the back after having circled the small store.
In an interview with WFAE, store owner Mun Sung, 65, said he and his wife, Joyce Sung, 63, were working in the store when the attack took place around 3 p.m. Tuesday.
When the attacker entered the store, he shouted, âChinese MF,â Sung said, choosing not to repeat the curse. The man also broke a cooler in the back of the store and was later joined by another man, whom Sung recognized as a former customer, who encouraged the assailant.
After the police arrived and arrested the assailant, and after Sung closed the store to start cleaning up, he said that the assailant’s friend returned and continued to harass Sung and his wife with d ‘others out the window.
At one point, when Sung’s wife left to use the bathroom, the man followed her, making sexual comments and obscene gestures, Sung said.
In a statement, the Charlotte Area Transit System confirmed that a 24-year-old man was arrested at the Plaza Sundries store on Tuesday in connection with a violent attack.
The transport system identified the man as Xavier Rachee Woody-Silas. He was charged with damage to property, theft with a dangerous weapon, communicating threats, the offense of theft, disorderly conduct and resisting, delaying and obstructing officers.
Police were also pursuing a potential charge of a misdemeanor of ethnic intimidation under North Carolina’s hate crimes law, at least in part based on alleged statements made to the store clerk, CATS said. Additionally, Woody-Silas has been banned from all CATS facilities and services.
The transit system also said that the security system it contracts with, G4S, has increased its presence at the transit center.
Sung said the attack was not unusual for his job. He said his family members and other employees were regularly insulted and cursed at work, and people regularly robbed the store or intentionally knocked over the chip rack. He said it’s common among Asian-owned convenience stores.
âAny other place – Asians who own the market or the convenience store like this, they’re in a very similar situation,â Sung said.
He said he was previously beaten and hospitalized by a customer he caught stealing from a Wilmington convenience store where he worked several years ago.
Sung said the most recent attack particularly shocked his wife, who had never experienced a major incident in the store before, and he said she “suffered trauma” because of it.
Since word of the attack began to spread across social media and local media, many in the community have started to find ways to show their support for the Sungs and their store.
One of Sungs’ nieces started a GoFundMe campaign after the attack, writing that it is “one thing we can do to help”. Fundraising donations, which were expected to raise $ 5,000, jumped quickly on Saturday, reaching $ 32,000 by 5 pm.
Sung said he was unaware that so much money had been raised, saying he “didn’t expect it.” He said another man walked into the store earlier on Saturday and dropped off five boxes of pizza for the store and its employees.
He said he wasn’t particularly worried about the future or the damage to the store. He had already replaced the broken door to one of the coolers on Saturday and was readjusting the store’s cameras for better angles in the event of another attack. He said people shouldn’t be too worried about his store.
“We will make more money,” he said, “We are working hard.”