After concern about a potential hate crime mounted this week within parts of Lafayette's Asian community, Lafayette police said they have arrested an Asian woman who allegedly lied when she told them a random assailant attacked an Asian man she was with last week.
At 8:45 p.m. March 23, St. Elizabeth Hospital staff members notified Lafayette police about a man who was brought in for treatment for multiple stab wounds, according to a news release. With the assistance of a Mandarin translator, officers spoke with the male victim, Qingyu Lin, and his female "associate," Wen Lin.
Both Lins told officers the victim was attacked without provocation by an unknown Black man wearing dark-colored clothing outside of a restaurant in the 2600 block of Maple Point Drive.
Detectives and crime scene technicians have thoroughly investigated, police say, including "multiple interviews" and watching "hours of surveillance footage," but "no physical evidence was located at the reported crime scene, no substantiated evidence was recovered in surveillance footage, and there were several discrepancies in the statements provided by Qingyu Lin and Wen Lin."
Police on Wednesday night arrested Wen Lin, the 42-year-old woman who was with the alleged victim, on preliminary charges of false informing, assisting a criminal and obstruction of justice.
LPD Lt. Randy Sherer told The Exponent that police are still searching for the identity of the assailant but no longer believe the initial report that the suspect is the random man described by both Lins.
It is unclear why Qingyu Lin, 46, may have provided false information when he was the victim of the alleged stabbing. He faces no charges as of Thursday and is out of the hospital with wounds that were said not to be life-threatening.
Sherer said he cannot comment on the relation of the alleged assailant to the Lins. He would say only that police have probable cause to believe Wen Lin assisted a criminal.
On guard after a rash of hate crimes reported against Asian Americans around the U.S., Sherer said members of the Chinese community in Greater Lafayette told police they feared that someone was targeting Asian people.
"I wanted to get this info out to the public right now so that people aren't in fear that someone is indiscriminately attacking people in the Asian community," Sherer said.
Police said in the press release that "nothing uncovered during the course of the investigation would suggest that members of the Asian community in the Greater Lafayette area are being randomly targeted."
Tippecanoe County Jail logs show that Wen Lin is a resident of the 3500 block of Burnley Drive in West Lafayette.
Anyone with information is asked to call Lafayette police at 765-807-1200, or through the anonymous WeTIP hotline at 800-78-CRIME.