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Female Japanese-American teacher suffers broken teeth, fractured face during vicious street attack

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'He definitely targeted her (and) hit her first.'

Photo by John Moore/Getty Images

A male suspect reportedly struck a Japanese-American woman in the face last week, rendering her unconscious and ultimately leaving her with broken teeth and fractures to her face. The victim said she believed that the suspect hit her with a sock stuffed with a rock or another hard object.

At the time of this reporting, the woman — a longtime Japanese teacher at a Seattle-area high school — has trouble speaking as a result of the attack.

What are the details?

According to reports, surveillance footage captured the moment when Noriko Nasu and her boyfriend, Michael Poffenbarger, were walking in Seattle's Chinatown-International District.

Poffenbarger, according to KOMO-TV, was also struck in the head, and required eight stitches at a nearby hospital.

He said that the attacker was "very deliberate" and "very focused" on attacking Nasu, and is convinced the suspect targeted her for her race.

"I truly believe he was trying to kill us," he told the station. "He definitely targeted her (and) hit her first. She got the most injury out of it. It was a pointed attack on her.

"She has three fractures in her nose right here. Her cheek and her mouth are super bruised. She's got two black eyes and several teeth in the bottom are broken," he added.

Poffenbarger, a registered nurse, said that the suspect only stopped attacking them when he began screaming for help, alerting nearby good Samaritans.

"If those people didn't come out of the restaurant, if he didn't feel the pressure of me calling for help, I don't think he would have given up until we were dead," he admitted.

Northshore School District Superintendent Michelle Reid told KIRO-TV that colleagues believe she was targeted for being Asian.

"In this case, it's gotten very close to home," Reid said. "It's one of our staff."

What else?

Seattle police announced Thursday that 41-year-old Sean Jeremy Holdip was arrested in connection with the assault.

Authorities have not released any further details on the attack nor did they announce what charges they planned to file in the attack. The suspect was being held Thursday at the King County Jail.

The station reported that the police are continuing to investigate the incident.

"While police have not yet found evidence indicating the February attack was racially motivated, the Seattle Police Department Bias Crimes Unit is investigating the incident," the department said in a statement.

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