One transgender woman was shot and another was sexually assaulted in separate incidents in D.C. early Saturday morning, June 29.
The two attacks came less than 24 hours after about 50 LGBT activists met to discuss ways to respond to a rash of violent incidents against LGBT people in the city since June 21, including the June 22 murder of a lesbian who was shot to death in what police said was a botched robbery.
Police said the shooting death of Malika Stover, 35, in the 1300 block of Stevens Road, S.E. didn’t appear to be linked to her sexual orientation.
But transgender activist Earline Budd, who organized the Friday night, June 28 “community response” meeting to address the recent incidents, said Stover’s slaying stunned those in the LGBT community who knew her.
“This is really putting all of us on edge,” Budd told the Blade. “You’re seeing all of these incidents happening in such a short period of time.”
The non-fatal shooting and the unrelated sexual assault of the two transgender women on Saturday, June 29, were the fifth and sixth violent assaults against a total of four transgender women, one gay man dressed in drag, and a lesbian, Stover, since June 21.
D.C. police have since arrested 23-year-old Michael McBride of Southeast D.C. for the attack, charging him with assault with intent to kill. Police told the Washington Post the stabbing was triggered by a dispute between Wallace and McBride, who knew each other.
“It’s been a series of horrible incidents in the past few weeks in terms of what’s going on against the transgender community,” said Hassan Naveed, co-chair of Gays and Lesbians Opposing Violence (GLOV).
“And tonight we really built momentum to combat the hate violence in this city,” he said, in commenting on the June 28 meeting at the LGBT Center. “We can see the energy in the community and people really coming together to discuss these issues and acting on this,” said Naveed.
Among those attending the meeting was D.C. Police Capt. Edward Delgado, director of the police division that oversees the department’s Gay and Lesbian Liaison Unit, and two GLLU officers. D.C. Council member Tommy Wells also stopped by the meeting.
“I’m completely open to learning from you,” said Wells, who chairs the Council’s Committee on the Judiciary and Public Safety. “We make progress and then sometimes we take two steps back,” he said in referring to efforts to curtail violence against the LGBT community.
One of the more tense moments of the meeting came when Earl Hooks, a public relations representative for Manny & Olga’s pizzeria chain, answered questions about a 2 a.m. incident on June 23 in which a gay man in drag was attacked at the Manny & Olga’s at 1841 14th St., N.W.
The incident, which was captured on a video that went viral online, involved two women who could be seen on the video dragging Miles Denaro, 24, across the floor by his hair as they punched and kicked him in the head and body. Denaro said he went to the pizzeria to take out some food after performing in drag under his stage name Heidi Glum at the nearby Black Cat nightclub.
An unidentified man taking the video is heard laughing and shouting along with other customers in the Manny & Olga’s restaurant as the two women assaulted Denaro and as blood could be seen dripping over his face from a head wound. According to Denaro, as many as five or six employees stood by watching and didn’t take steps to break up the altercation or call police. He said the two women who assaulted him called him “tranny” and “faggot.”
“I’m here right now to apologize for anything that is harmful to this community,” Hooks told the meeting.
Gay activist Nick McCoy, who helped organize the meeting, said he contacted Manny & Olga’s and invited the owners to send someone to the meeting to talk about the incident.
Several activists, including D.C. Center Executive Director David Mariner, pressed Hooks to explain why the employees apparently failed to take steps to stop the attack.
“Our policy is to not touch anyone who comes into the store,” he said. “From what I understand, a call was made to the police.”
Police sources, however, have said no call was received from Manny & Olga’s at the time of the incident.
Delgado told the Blade at the meeting that police have obtained warrants for the arrest of the two women on a charge of simple assault. He said the women had not been apprehended as of the time of the meeting.
Denaro told the Blade he wasn’t seriously injured.
In addition to Budd, speakers at the meeting included Naveed of GLOV; Rick Rosendall, president of the Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance; Nico Quintana of the D.C. Trans Coalition; Ruby Corado of Casa Ruby; Sterling Washington, director of the Mayor’s Office of GLBT Affairs; and Cyndee Clay, executive director of Helping Individual Prostitutes Survive (HIPS).
Officer Juanita Foreman of the GLLU gave a presentation on steps citizens can take, including members of the LGBT community, to avoid danger while walking on the streets.
Mariner said the D.C. Center would make available to the community a compilation of proposals developed at the meeting to address anti-LGBT violence in the city.
The following summary of the six incidents involving attacks against members of the LGBT community between June 21 and June 29 is based on information released by D.C. police. As of early this week police had not classified any of the incidents as a hate crime, although a source familiar with police thought the incident at Manny & Olga’s would be listed as a hate crime:
1. Transgender woman Bree Wallace, 29, was attacked and stabbed multiple times in an abandoned house at 3038 Stanton Rd., S.E. about 1 a.m. Thursday, June 21. A suspect was arrested and charged with assault with intent to kill.
2. Malika Stover, 35, identified by Earline Budd as an out lesbian known in the LGBT community, was fatally shot about 2 a.m. Saturday, June 22, in the 1300 block of Stevens Road, S.E. Police say she suffered from multiple gunshot wounds and the motive appeared to be robbery.
3. Gay male drag performer Miles Denaro, 24, was attacked and beaten by two female suspects about 2 a.m. Sunday, June 23, inside Manny & Olga’s pizzeria at 1841 14th St., N.W.
4. A transgender woman was shot in the buttocks in the 500 block of Eastern Avenue, N.E., about 6 a.m. Thursday, June 27. Police say the motive appears to be robbery.
5. A transgender woman was sexually assaulted by an unidentified male after accepting a ride in the suspect’s car while walking in the 300 block of 61st Street, N.E. about 3:30 a.m. Saturday, June 29. Police listed the incident as a first-degree sexual assault.
6. A transgender woman was shot and sustained non-life-threatening injuries while walking in the area of 5th and K Street, N.E., about 4 a.m. Saturday, June 29. Police said the shooting took place while two male suspects attempted to rob her.