Who is Antoine Watson? SF teen who killed 84-year-old man by shoving him to pavement pleads not guilty
Watson allegedly carried out the deadly attack on senior citizen Vicha Ratanapakdee on January 28 and it was caught on CCTV footage
SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA: A teenager charged in the brutal assault of an 84-year-old San Francisco man that was captured on video in January 2021, will remain in custody following a court hearing on Monday, February 15.
The San Francisco District Attorney’s office stated on Monday, February 8, that their detention plan to hold 19-year-old Antoine Watson without bail was granted by the court. Watson allegedly carried out the deadly attack on senior citizen Vicha Ratanapakdee in the city’s Anza Vista neighborhood on January 28, 2021. He has pled not guilty to charges of murder and elder abuse causing death.
In the footage, Ratanapakdee, who was originally from Thailand, can be seen walking in the driveway of a house when the suspect suddenly sprinted towards him and knocked him to the ground before casually walking away in the same direction he came from. The attack came with such a speed that Ratanapakdee was thrown backward and he landed on the pavement. Ratanapakdee died after sustaining severe injuries. Watson was “apparently vandalizing a car” when Ratanapakdee looked at him and changed directions on his walk, Connolly said in his detention motion, citing surveillance footage from the scene. A witness told the police they heard a voice shouting, “Why you lookin’ at me?” twice before hearing Ratanapakdee, prosecutors said.
“The video shows that the elderly man had no opportunity to protect himself,” Assistant District Attorney Sean Connolly wrote in a motion seeking to detain Watson. “There was no evidence depicted that the elderly man did anything to provoke the attack.” The Department of Police stated that they identified Watson quickly. San Francisco District Attorney’s office stated that Watson had been observed and contacted by San Francisco Police officers earlier that morning for traffic violations following a minor collision and was issued a citation. Body camera footage of the encounter led police to identify him.
Sliman Nawabi, a deputy public defender representing Watson, disputed the perception that the attack was racially motivated. This comes after the news made national headlines amid growing concerns about rising anti-Asian sentiment during the pandemic and attacks against Asian American elders. “There is absolutely zero evidence that Mr. Ratanapakdee’s ethnicity and age was a motivating factor in being assaulted,” Nawabi said. “This unfortunate assault has to do with a break in the mental health of a teenager. Any other narrative is false, misleading, and divisive.” Nawabi added that Watson comes from a biracial family background and had “no knowledge of Mr. Ratanapakdee’s race or vulnerabilities” since the elderly man was wearing a mask, hat, sweater and jeans.
Watson was arrested along with a female associate he was with at the time of the assault. Watson and his associate, 20-year-old Malaysia Goo, were arrested on January 30, 2021. District Attorney Chesa Boudin has said Goo was seated in the car and played no apparent role in the attack.