An Indiana woman has been charged with a federal hate crime for a racially motivated attack and stabbing of a woman of Chinese descent on a public transit bus.
The incident occurred on Jan. 11, 2023 when 56-year-old suspect Billie Davis "willfully caused bodily injury to the victim and attempted to do so using a knife because of the victim's race and national origin" on a public bus in Bloomington, Indiana, the Department of Justice said in a statement detailing the charge against Davis.
"The victim reported to investigators that she had been riding the Bloomington Transit bus and had stood up to exit the bus," the Bloomington Police Department said at the time of the attack. "She said that as she was standing and waiting for the bus doors to open, another passenger on the bus began to strike her repeatedly in the head, which resulted in immediate pain."
Davis was originally transported to the Monroe County Jail and booked in for the charge of Battery, level 5 felony, according to authorities. But once it was determined that the victim had multiple stab wounds to her head, investigators accessed camera footage from inside the bus which captured the assault and saw that the suspect and victim had no prior interactions prior to the suspect stabbing the victim multiple times in the head as the victim waited for the bus doors to open.
"Billie Davis was then re-interviewed by investigators at the Monroe County Jail," the Bloomington Police Department said. "At the conclusion of the interview, her charge was amended to Attempted Murder, level 1 felony."
It was announced on Thursday by the Department of Justice that a federal grand jury in Evansville, Indiana, returned a single-count indictment charging Davis with committing a hate crime for her racially motivated attack and alleges that the offense included an attempt to kill the victim.
The FBI Indianapolis Field Office and Bloomington Resident Agency led the investigation on this case along with assistance from the Bloomington Police Department.
Indiana University in Bloomington's Asian Culture Center issued a statement following the attack in January and said it was "outraged and heartbroken by this unprovoked act of violence."
"Our thoughts go out to the victim of this horrendous act, to her family, and to everyone in the community who is affected by this racial violence," said the Asian Cultural Center in response to the stabbing.
The Department of Justice announced on Thursday that assistant U.S. attorney Peter A. Blackett for the Southern District of Indiana and Trial Attorney Anita Channapati of the Civil Rights Division's Criminal Section are prosecuting the case against Davis but reiterated that "an indictment is merely an allegation. All defendants are presumed innocent unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law."