MANILA, Philippines —  A Filipino health frontliner succumbed to serious head injuries after she was knocked down in New York City by a fleeing homeless theft suspect believed to be mentally disturbed.

“We grieve with the rest of the Filipino Community over the death of our kababayan, Maria Ambrocio, a 58-year-old health frontliner from Bayonne, New Jersey, who is the latest victim of deranged individuals on the loose in New York City,” the Philippine Consulate General in New York said in a statement posted on social media on Sunday.

Ambrocio passed away after she was taken off life support, according to the consulate.

She was on life support for head trauma she sustained Friday afternoon after she was “knocked down by someone who was described as a mentally disturbed homeless man.”

“Maria was walking with a kababayan near Times Square after visiting the Philippine Consulate General when she was struck by the suspect who was reportedly being chased after grabbing a mobile phone from someone,” the consulate said.

“The incident is the latest in the series of violent acts committed by mentally-ill individuals against members of the Filipino Community in New York City since the start of the year,” it added.

The homeless man is now in the custody of the police, Ambrocio’s niece, Michelle Sta. Maria Magalona, said in an interview over Teleradyo.

“Nahuli siya…kasi nung nabangga niya si Tita, he was running kasi naghablot siya ng cellphone…After a few blocks, nahuli naman siya and nasa custody naman ng police now,” she said.

According to the consulate, several Filipinos, mostly senior citizens, have been “violently assaulted by individuals with mental health issues” since January this year.

“We have joined calls for authorities to take the necessary steps, including heightened police visibility, to protect the public after we noted the surge in anti-Asian hate incidents that targeted some of our kababayan,” it said.

“We also supported calls for authorities to take the necessary measures to address mental health issues, especially among the homeless. We reiterate these calls as we mourn our loss but we also ask ourselves: How many more Maria Ambrocios do we have to mourn before the streets would be made safe again?” the consulate added.

The consulate said it will hold a memorial mass for Ambrocio on Monday afternoon.

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