Crystal Raquel Cash, 55, cannot speak but is alive after being shot nearly point blank in the face by a man who Evansville, Ind. police say is a a member of a black separatist group.
Using information that Cash supplied by writing notes, police tracked down and arrested Gerald Duane Lewis, 26, on charges of attempted murder, robbery and unlawful possession of a handgun. He is being held on $5 million bond, or $500,000 in cash, and awaits a hearing on the charges Friday, according to the Courier and Press.
Lewis and his wife, Daisy Norman, reportedly are members of the Israel United in Church, which the Southern Poverty Law Center listed as a hate group last year. According to the newspaper, Lewis was wearing a shirt from the church when he opened fire, shouting a homophobic slur.
Cash told police she let him into her business on North First Avenue Sunday to use the bathroom. Her brother told WFIE-TV his sister operates a cosmetics business, and refuted reports in the Evansville news media that implied Cash was somehow involved in prostitution.
“She’s a professional business owner,” said Johnny Dickens, “and she is not some sort of a prostitute that’s luring people into her office.”
Cash remains hospitalized at Deaconess Hospital. There’s no word on when Cash will regain the ability to speak.
Police tell reporters that despite the slur, Cash’s transgender identity and the fact Lewis is associated with a hate group, they are not treating this as a hate crime. In February, Evansville’s city council voted to bolster LGBT protections against discrimination, which were first enacted in 2011.
Watch the report from WFIE here.