The kidnapping and rape of a 64-year-old woman taken from an MBTA station in Quincy, Massachusetts, shocked the community and has prompted an increased demand for self-defense classes.
Christian Lynch, 26, is accused of abducting the victim, an Asian woman, from the Wollaston stop Saturday morning. He allegedly raped her repeatedly in his car and then in a home before leaving her at the parking lot of a Lowe's store in Brockton.
Prosecutors said he duct-taped and handcuffed the victim's hands and feet, and that she was still duct taped when she was found screaming in the parking lot by a good Samaritan who called 911.
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Authorities also allege that Lynch tried to kidnap another woman 20 minutes earlier, who was also of Asian descent, but she fought him off.
The Wah Lum Kung Fu & Tai Chi Academy, which has locations in Quincy and Malden, says demand is surging.
"I'm getting calls, messages, emails," said Mai Du, the academy's owner. "People are asking about the training, about classes, what to do, etc. There is so much fear in the air."
The fear has stemmed from a spike in anti-Asian violence felt across the region.
"The elders are so scared. They're scared to be alone, they're scared to go to the supermarket, to walk out, to take the MBTA," Mai Du said.
"It can happen to two women. It happened in broad daylight," said Francie Chew, who enrolled in a class. "Where are we safe? Where are we safe?"
"It's specifically targeting someone because they're Asian, and so what do you have to turn to other than your Asian-American community?" asked Vivian Ho, who also enrolled. "That's where safety is."
Wah Lum is hosting a free self-defense class Sunday.
The class is intended to help mentally heal and bolster community support.
"None of us are going to be free until all of us are free," Chew said.
Prosecutors said in court Monday that what Lynch is accused of doing is horrifying. They say the victim was walking out of the T station on her way to work Saturday morning when Lynch approached her, chased her, grabbed her and threw her in his car. At one point, prosecutors allege Lynch started punching the woman in the throat and body, before putting the duct tape over her mouth and her eyes.
The woman, who Lynch allegedly tortured for 12 hours, told officers she felt like she was going to die. She also told police that when she the man in his car, he just looked like he was trying to "catch people."
To track Lynch down, transit police put out photos of him and his car at Wollaston station. Lynch was found in his car by Quincy police on Sunday. Prosecutors said he admitted to all of it.
According to court documents, Lynch allegedly told police he did this because he was tired of swiping on dating apps, saying, "This is me going out into the world and getting a date."
Lynch was held without bail pending a dangerousness hearing next week. It wasn't immediately clear if he had an attorney who could speak to the charges. NBC10 Boston has also learned that Lynch was arrested less than a month ago for allegedly exposing himself to people on a Quincy walking trail.