Wing Luke Museum staff focus on healing and rebuilding after alleged hate crime

The man accused of yelling racist comments and smashing windows at the Wing Luke Museum now faces felony charges.

The King County Prosecutor's Office announced Monday they rush-filed charges of a hate crime and first-degree malicious mischief against 76-year-old Craig Milne. Prosecutors have asked for Milne to be held on $30,000 bail.

Meanwhile, the Wing Luke Museum remains open as staff and volunteers continue to heal from Thursday night's violent attack. 

Police say Milne yelled racist statements and took a sledgehammer to shatter nine windows of the historic museum in Seattle's Chinatown-International District.

Executive Director Joël Barraquiel Tan says there has been an incredible outpouring of love and support from the community.

He says staff, volunteers and leadership have constantly been checking in on each other since the attack and are committed to educating the public about Asian American and Pacific Islander history in Puget Sound.

"Over 100 years of anti-Chinese policies and vigilantism that isn't that long ago, that isn't too many generations ago, and I think this recent hate crime and vandalism is just connected to that," said Tan.

Tan says damages are still being assessed, but believes it could cost more than the $200,000 estimate.

"Connected to that glass that was broken, is some original wood," said Tan. "It's not just a straight window replacement in an historic building, we have to maintain a kind of preservation integrity."

Milne was booked for a hate crime offense and after making his first court appearance on Friday, his bail was set at $30,000.

He has not been charged yet.

"We argued that there was probable cause for a hate crime," said Casey McNerthney, spokesperson for the King County Prosecuting Attorney's Office.

"The charging decision will come when we get the referral from Seattle police, and we anticipate getting that referral tomorrow," said McNerthney.

The King County Prosecuting Attorney's Office says the most common crime type are hate crimes involving anti-race/ethnicity and anti-Asian crimes are the second most common type within this category.

So far, 70 anti-Asian crimes have been reported to Seattle Police this year.

On Sunday, just a few miles away from the museum at the Seattle waterfront, Bettie Luke, called out anti-Asian hate, as well as the attack on the museum, named after her brother Wing Luke, the first person of color elected to Seattle City Council.

"It isn't just an Asian American problem. It's a problem that affects the whole community," said Luke.

A problem recognized by some community members, who Tan says, helped the museum clean up immediately after the attack.

"Neighbors came, without even being asked, to sweep, to deliver pizzas, to sort out nails and screws and to put up boards," said Tan.

Tan says a public healing event is being planned for Canton Alley and details on that event will be shared in the coming days.

"Our work right now is to flood it with light again, and to re-bless the place," said Tan.