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D.C. police investigating six attacks in LGBT community in recent weeks

Tuesday, July 2, 2013
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WASHINGTON — Police in the District of Columbia are investigating six reported attacks, which include a fatal shooting, a beating, a stabbing, a sexual assault, and two non life-threatening shootings against members of the LGBT community over the past two weeks.

Metropolitan Police told LGBTQ Nation that, with the exception of the beating, the attacks all occurred in the eastern quadrants of the city in Northeast and Southeast D.C.

In the first reported attack, Bree Wallace, a 29-year-old transgender woman, was attacked and stabbed multiple times in the early morning hours of Friday, June 21. The MPD said last week that they had made an arrest, charging Michael McBride, 23, with assault with intent to kill.

The following day, on Saturday, June 22, Malika Stover, 35, an out lesbian, was fatally shot in Southeast D.C. Investigators said that she died as the result of multiple gunshot wounds and that the motive appeared to be robbery.

The fatal shooting was followed by a beating assault on Miles Denaro, 24, a gay drag performer inside a pizzeria in Northwest D.C. in the early morning hours of Sunday, June 23.

On Tuesday, police said they have arrested Raymone Harding, 28, in the attack on Denaro. A bystander captured the assault on camera. Harding has been charged with simple assault. A second woman is wanted by police.

On Thursday, June 27, an unidentified transgender woman was shot in the buttocks in Northeast D.C. and, according to the MPD investigators, the motive appeared to be robbery.

And in two separate incidents about an hour apart in the early morning hours of Saturday, June 29, a transgender woman was sexually assaulted by an unidentified male after accepting a ride in the suspect’s car. Police officials described the incident as a first-degree sexual assault.

In the second incident on June 29, another transgender woman was shot, also in Northeast D.C. Police said the victim sustained non-life-threatening injuries, and described the incident as another robbery attempt. Police declined to publicly identify the two victims.

Assistant D.C. Police Chief Peter Newsham told the Washington Post that five of the six attacks since June 21 are not considered hate crimes.

“Advocates in that community seem to think offenses are not taken as seriously as others, and they ask that we” list the sexual orientation, Newsham said. “They say they want that information out there, and we accommodate them.”

Four of the cases involved transgender victims, and in three of the incidents, police indicated the victim’s sexual orientation in news releases.

The MPD has been accused in the past of being insensitive or indifferent to the city’s LGBT community, and now the department’s Gay and Lesbian Liaison Unit pays closer attention to cases with any tones of suspected bias.

A hate crime conviction in D.C. can lead to punishments up to 1 ½ times the maximum penalty.

Police officials have not yet indicated whether they believe any of the attacks are related.

Ed. Note: This report has been updated to reflect arrest made in June 23 attack.

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