Young father killed with one punch following fender bender in Philadelphia

TaRhonda Thomas Image
Friday, June 4, 2021
Young father killed with one punch following fender bender
A young father has died after he was attacked while helping a delivery driver who was involved in a crash in Philadelphia.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Wei Lin always had a reputation for helping others.

"He was so kind," said the 28-year-old's wife through a translator. "Whenever his friends needed help, he tried his best to help them."

And it was while helping a friend that Lin became the victim of a deadly attack.

It happened on Monday, May 24 as an employee of his restaurant was making a food delivery in the area of L and Luzerne streets in the Juniata section of Philadelphia.

"During the delivering process, he got into a car accident," said the victim's wife, Mrs. Zhang, who only wanted to use her last name due to safety concerns. She spoke to 6abc through a Mandarin translator.

The employee who got into the minor car crash didn't speak English and called Lin to help him communicate with the other driver.

Lin's family members say he called police and exchanged information with the woman who was driving the other car. What happened next was a complete shock.

"The suspect came out of nowhere," Zhang says of a man who arrived on the scene when police weren't there.

"It was a fist and a really heavy hit at my husband's head," recounts Zhang of the story the delivery driver told, detailing how a man who was a relative of the other driver approached Lin and punched him in the head.

"My husband collapsed," said Zhang, who got a call about the incident at the couple's restaurant.

She says, initially, it was reported that her husband was involved in the car crash.

John Chin, executive director of the Philadelphia Chinatown Development Corporation, substantiates that claim.

"At the beginning, police just treated it as a fender bender," said Chin. "Our agency notified police and said, 'Hey this fender bender became a very violent incident against a male victim.'"

Lin was hospitalized for three days before succumbing to his injuries on Thursday, May 27. His wife says he was unconscious the entire time suffering from severe brain damage.

Police have arrested a suspect, Jose Figueroa of Hunting Park. He's charged with manslaughter.

Philadelphia police are not investigating the incident as a hate crime. They say the suspect and victim didn't know each other, and no insults or slurs were exchanged prior to the attack.

Still, the attack is concerning to members of the Asian community, who have experienced a rise in anti-Asian hate crimes even as the nation celebrated Asian Pacific American Heritage Month in May and Immigrant Heritage Month in June.

"We have a serious issue here where we need to change the narrative," said Chin.

Zhang now has to focus on trying to raise her two children without their loving father who she says always made time for them no matter the 12-hour days he worked at the family's restaurant.

"One of my children is only 3 months old and the other 19 months," said Zhang, "so it has been a nightmare for us. We don't know what to do next."