An 18-year-old man suspected of fatally shooting a 23-year-old Asian woman after an attempted robbery has been arrested in New York City and faces charges of murder and attempted robbery.
Malik Tyree McCray was arrested Monday in the death of Taiwanese national Amy Lee, whose fatal shooting sparked an outcry in the New York media and spread on social media as a case of racial bias. McCray shot Lee in the chest in a Sheepshead Bay subway station after a racially motivated robbery attempt in August, according to police. The shooting victim was in the United States legally on a tourist visa.
Mayor Bill de Blasio said Lee “was a victim of one of the most cowardly crimes anyone could ever imagine — being deliberately shot because she was Asian.”
McCray’s father, Malcolm McCray, said in a Facebook post after Lee’s death that his son didn’t intentionally target Lee. He said Malcolm “only wanted my son to hurt her but he didn’t intend to murder her or to commit such a horrific act.”
McCray is charged with second-degree murder, attempted robbery and weapon possession in Lee’s death. It wasn’t immediately clear if he had an attorney who could comment on the allegations.
Lee’s killing is among a spate of racially motivated crimes across the country. In Florida, Benjamin Lam, a black man, was shot and killed by a white man earlier this year during an attempted robbery. The victim’s wife testified before a grand jury that she tried to stop her husband from shooting Lam. Last year, a black teenager was killed by a white teenager and called a “race traitor” in response to the incident.
Asia Liu’s brother, Tan and his mother, Mulma Wang, called on police to “do something” after Lee’s death.
“Amy was just a young, beautiful girl with a loving heart,” they said in a statement through their lawyer. “We want to say that we are proud of Amy and want her to remain in our memories, but we feel that Amy has been completely forgotten and she is forgotten by all. We are suffering a horrible pain that cannot be described. Our sisters, children, aunties, nieces and cousins and our entire family want justice. She and her family are for all of us to be safe and have peace.”
Lee, who moved to New York in late 2013 with her mother and younger sister, returned to Taiwan last fall, her family said. She was employed as a cook at a sushi restaurant and was about to start the process of obtaining legal status. Lee’s father, who was also a chef, urged authorities to arrest those responsible for his daughter’s death.
“He said that Amy was for his son and his family to be safe and have peace,” the statement said. “We have a neighbor who has custody of Amy’s younger sister. She came to the apartment yesterday. The older daughter also came. They know of the police investigation, and they are shocked.”
Lee attended Beijing High School, where she was described by a classmate as “an intelligent, talented and vibrant person with a natural outgoing personality.” A memorial service is planned for 11 a.m. Monday at Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Sheepshead Bay.