A 15-year-old transgender teen was stabbed in the back by an attacker while riding a Green Line Metrorail in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday.
The victim, a D.C. resident, was being treated at a hospital for a non-life threatening puncture wound.
Metro spokesperson Dan Stessel told the Washington Blade that Metro Police arrested a suspect in the case on the Fort Totten Station platform as he attempted to flee the scene.
The Metro statement identifies the suspect as Reginald Anthony Klaiber, 24, of Greenbelt, Md. It says police charged him with assault with a deadly weapon – a knife. The statement says the charge is classified as a bias related crime, which could result in an enhanced jail sentence under the D.C. hate crimes law.
“Witnesses told Transit Police detectives the suspect made bias-motivated remarks about the victim’s transgender status immediately prior to the assault,” the Metro statement says.
Jae-la White, 19, one of two friends accompanying the victim on the train at the time of the stabbing, told the Blade in a telephone interview that the attacker approached the victim and began making disparaging remarks about her appearance shortly after he boarded the train at the West Hyattsville Station.
“He came to my friend and said you have red hair,” White said. “My friend said ok, and then he said, ‘Oh, you’re a man!’”
“Then he started bothering my friend,” said White. “My friend got up out of her seat to go by the door while the train was moving and told him to please leave her alone. He faced her and said I will stab you up and blow your brains out.”
While recounting what followed, White said the attacker then “started to hug” the victim in a sexually suggestive way. Shortly after, the victim began to scream and White and their other friend realized their friend was being stabbed.
White said his friend then pulled out a canister of mace and squirted the attacker in his face, allowing the victim to break free.
Transit police were than alerted by the train operator. Kaliber, who has a lengthy criminal record, is expected to appear in court at a later date.
We must continue to demand justice for our transgender brothers and sisters.
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