The daughter of an Oakland man left a quadriplegic when he was hit in the head during a robbery in 2011 questions why her father was left to die just steps away from their home.
The woman, who asked that the family not be identified out of fear of reprisal, said her 66-year-old father has a good sense of humor and a generous heart.
"I just don't understand why they (the attackers) just didn't walk up to him and ask him for money," said the 29-year-old woman. "My dad is a very giving person. He would have been willing to help him. They didn't have to hit him."
Police have made no arrests in the attack that occurred in early January 2011, when the man was found lying in the street near 35th and Hageman avenues. Community activists said he is among many immigrants who have become easy targets of crime.
"It's very hard for them to communicate between them and the people trying to do something bad to them," said Wah Blu Soe, social adjustment counselor of the Burma Refugee Family Network. Robberies are the most common crimes against Asian immigrants who live in high-crime neighborhoods.
The network, in conjunction with the Oakland Police Department, will hold a workshop Saturday to inform immigrants about personal safety and crime prevention at the Vietnamese American Community Center of East Bay in Oakland.
The victim of the January 2011 attack, a husband and father of two adult daughters, is back home now, but
The man immigrated with his family from Vietnam in 1991 and worked as a night custodian for the Mt. Diablo Unified School District. He was attacked as he returned home after buying milk.
"Before the incident, he was healthy, fine and normal," the 29-year-old daughter said. "He was the person who takes care of everything in the family. He can't go out. He has a lot of limitations."
What the attackers did drastically changed the life of the father but also that of his family.
The daughter had to leave a research assistant position at UC Berkeley to be one of his primary caretakers because "it's not one-person work," she said.
With all of the hardships, the family is slowly regaining the man that they thought they lost. After having a breathing tube removed earlier in the year, he is now able to speak, which was a major milestone for the family. By regaining his voice, he is able to communicate his needs -- and joke around.
"His personality has not changed. He's still very strong, always open and interested in other people," said Mary Brennan, a retired Mt. Diablo district elementary teacher who regularly visits the man.
Through their conversations, Brennan sees the man who had a sense of humor with the elementary students when he asked them to clean up after themselves. He used to bring her Vietnamese food.
Brennan is glad that his personality is intact but expresses anger at how little has been done for the family.
The family has had difficulty contacting the California Victim Compensation Program, which wouldn't return the daughters' calls, and has taken a financial hit since their insurance will not cover the cost of diapers and other items labeled convenience costs.
The daughter is looking to buy a wheelchair accessible van so they no longer have to rely on public transportation and ambulance companies.
Mostly, she wants her father to be able to travel to see his grandchildren in San Jose. So far, trips are just out of reach for her father. She is focused on just making him comfortable and stable.
"Whoever did it didn't realize the impact that this could cause," the daughter said.
Police and Crime Stoppers of Oakland are offering $10,000 in reward money for information leading to the arrest of the suspects. Anyone with information can call police at 510-238-3821 or Crime Stoppers at 510-777-8572 or 510-777-3211.
Staff writer Harry Harris contributed to this report.
What: A workshop for immigrants about personal safety and crime prevention
When: 9:30 a.m. to noon, Saturday
Where: Vietnamese American Community Center of East Bay, 655 International Blvd., Oakland
Info: Wah Blu Soe (English, Karen, and Burmese languages) or Sushma Gurung (Nepali and English languages) at 510-891-8635 or Estifanos Semere (Tigrina language) at 510-575-3990