A rock thrown through the window of Foster City Vice Mayor Richa Awasthi’s house and narrowly missing her husband’s head Tuesday evening is being investigated by the Police Department as felony vandalism though there are no suspects or motive identified.
Awasthi and her husband were getting ready to do errands slightly before 6 p.m. when a rock was thrown through their window at their townhome, shattering the glass and blinds. No one was hurt, Awasthi said. She is still coming to terms with the shock and disbelief of what happened, particularly when her son and daughter were home during the incident. She plans to be extra vigilant and will install cameras at her residence.
“Home is the place where you would feel the safest,” she said.
Cory Call, a captain with the Foster City Police Department, said an official investigation is underway for felony vandalism, but police do not have any suspects or motives yet. Call could not comment on the investigation’s specific details but said the police were looking at all possible scenarios. Call said that type of vandalism is not a common occurrence in the neighborhood or Foster City. Police arrived at the residence at 6:18 p.m. to gather information and evidence. Call said the rock was “about a couple of pounds.”
Awasthi said the sound of the rock breaking the window was so loud she thought it was a gunshot. She said it is unlikely the vandalism was an accident. She has never had an incident like this happen before to her in Foster City. The broken window at their townhome was in the front above their garage. Her family is temporarily staying at the townhome while their house is remodeled.
Awasthi declined to speculate on the motive for the vandalism, saying she was focused on her work on the City Council. However, she did say there needs to be more civility in the way people in Foster City interact and speak with each other on controversial government issues.
“You can agree or disagree on topics and policy. We have forgotten the art of agreeing to disagree or disagreeing civilly,” she said.
She described the vandalism as unacceptable and something no one should have to face. She said the incident would not deter her from speaking out or doing her job on the City Council if that was the intent. She plans to continue advocating for everyone in her community, she said.
“I will continue to perform my duties representing the residents of Foster City and unite us all,” she said.
Local politicians and community members have been reaching out to Awasthi over the past day to offer their support. She said she has heard from the other members of the Foster City Council and is grateful to everyone for reaching out. Foster City Mayor Sanjay Gehani said he was glad Awasthi and her family were safe.
“We strongly condemn this type of activity. I have full faith in our police department to do everything to figure out what happened here,” Gehani said.
Foster City Councilman Sam Hindi on Facebook said he was disgusted and outraged at the attack on Awasthi and her family. He hopes the Foster City Police Department will catch anyone responsible and hold them accountable for the attack.
“I firmly stand with Vice Mayor Awasthi during this time, and I hope we all can give her the support she needs,” Hindi said online.
Foster City Councilman Jon Froomin said by email, “Crime of this nature seems personal and generally intended to intimidate the victim. We, as a council, stand together with Councilmember Awasthi and her family to condemn this action and assure our community we will not stop representing our community to the best of our ability.”
Foster City Councilman Patrick Sullivan said he would stand up for the rights of elected officials.
“This type of behavior will and should not be tolerated in Foster City or any cities,” he said in an email.
The vandalism case is the second time an incident like this has occurred against a local elected official this year. San Mateo Councilwoman Amourence Lee also had a rock thrown through her window June 2. San Mateo police are still investigating the June incident after Lee reported it as a hate crime. Lee noted she and Awasthi are Asian American councilwomen and the only sitting women of color on their respective councils.
“I am heartbroken for her as a mother, knowing the pain and infuriating powerlessness of not being able to protect our kids from violence and hatred even inside our own homes. I stand with Richa and her family denouncing this cowardly and hateful act. The work to build safer and more inclusive communities in the face of racism and misogyny will continue undeterred — our hearts break, and our resolve strengthens,” Lee said in an email statement.
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