Billie R. Davis was charged with attempted murder in the stabbing of an 18-year-old Indiana University student. (Bloomington Police Department/AP)
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A 56-year-old woman stabbed an 18-year-old Indiana University student while riding a public bus in Bloomington and told a detective she did it because the victim was “Chinese,” according to court documents obtained by The Washington Post.

Billie Ranard Davis of Bloomington approached the Carmel, Ind., woman on Wednesday as she was waiting to exit the bus and began stabbing her repeatedly in the head, according to a probable-cause affidavit. Security camera footage showed that Davis and the woman had not interacted before the attack, the affidavit said. The footage showed Davis stabbing or attempting to stab her about seven times before returning to her seat on the bus. A witness later followed Davis on foot until police were able to arrest her sometime after 4:45 p.m.

The student received treatment at a Bloomington hospital for several head wounds. Her condition was not released.

According to the affidavit, Davis mentioned targeting the woman “due to [her] being Chinese” and “made statements that race was a factor in why she stabbed her.” Davis also told the detective that she attacked her because it would be “one less person to blow up our country.”

The stabbing drew condemnations from several officials, including Bloomington Mayor John Hamilton, who called it a “senseless” and “racially motivated” incident that reminds the community of the need to “combat racism and prejudice in all forms.”

“We know when a racially motivated incident like this resonates throughout the community, it can leave us feeling less safe,” he said in a statement posted to Facebook on Saturday. “We stand with the Asian community and all who feel threatened by this event.”

James C. Wimbush, the university’s vice president for diversity, equity and multicultural affairs, said on Facebook, “This week, Bloomington was sadly reminded that anti-Asian hate is real.”

The university’s Asian Culture Center called it a “horrific and targeted anti-Asian hate crime” in a Facebook statement, adding: “We should not be fearing for our lives on public transportation.”

Hate crimes against Asian Americans have occurred throughout American history, but reports have soared during the pandemic as unfounded conspiracy theories pinned the spread of the coronavirus on China and Chinese people.

A total of 10,905 hate incidents against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders were reported between March 19, 2020, and Dec. 31, 2021, according to the advocacy group Stop AAPI Hate. Of them, about 16 percent involved a physical assault. Most happened in public spaces, with about 8 percent of incidents reported taking place on public transportation.

Manjusha Kulkarni, co-founder of Stop AAPI Hate and executive director of the AAPI Equity Alliance, said Davis’s alleged comment about the victim — which appeared to reference the detonation of a bomb — reminded her of the backlash against South Asians, Sikhs and Muslim Americans after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

“The attacker made it clear that anti-Asian hate was a motivation behind this horrific act of violence,” she said, adding that “several recent high-profile anti-Asian hate incidents have really illustrated the breadth and depth of racism and hate in our communities.”

The 2021 Atlanta spa shootings, in which a gunman killed eight people, nearly all of Asian descent, brought hate crimes against Asian Americans back to the fore, Kulkarni said. But other incidents of violence and harassment continue to make headlines, including last week, when a New York man pleaded guilty to a hate-crime manslaughter charge after he fatally beat a 61-year-old Chinese immigrant who was collecting cans on the street.

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After her arrest on Wednesday, Davis was taken to the Monroe County Jail. She faces a charge of attempted murder in the first degree and multiple battery counts.