June 23, 2013 at 6:22 pm EDT | by Lou Chibbaro Jr.
Transgender woman stabbed repeatedly in D.C. attack

Gay News, Washington Blade, Bree Wallace, transgender

Bree Wallace (Photo courtesy of Ruby Corado.)

D.C. police have declined to confirm whether they have arrested a male suspect for allegedly stabbing a 29-year-old transgender woman as many as 40 times in an abandoned house in Southeast Washington around 1 a.m. on Friday morning.

A police report, which lists the incident as an assault with intent to kill, says the stabbing took place at 3038 Stanton Road, S.E. It says the victim, Bree Wallace, managed to run several blocks to the apartment building where she lives on the 2400 block of 15th Place, S.E., before collapsing on the street.

The report says Wallace was taken to Prince George’s Hospital Center in nearby Cheverly, Md., where she was being treated for multiple stab wounds to the back and chest and severe lacerations to both of her hands.

“I don’t know why he did it,” Wallace told the Washington Blade in a phone interview on Sunday from her hospital bed. “He didn’t say anything,” she said in recounting how the incident took place after she recently met the attacker in the neighborhood near where she lives.

“The investigation has revealed that this assault with intent to kill was neither random nor a hate crime,” police spokesperson Gwendolyn Crump told the Blade in an e-mail.

But Crump and other police officials have declined to confirm Wallace’s assertion that police told her father that they arrested a suspect in the case late Friday or early Saturday.

“They told my dad,” said Wallace, in recounting to the Blade that a police investigator informed her father that an arrest had been made.

Trans activists Earline Budd and Ruby Corado, who know Wallace, said she told them she and the attacker had known each other casually prior to the attack. Corado said Wallace told her the attacker sent her a text message asking to meet up with her at the location where the stabbing occurred.

Corado told the Blade that Wallace informed her that at some point she declined the man’s request that the two become romantically or sexually involved. Corado said Wallace was a client at Casa Ruby, an LGBT community center with outreach to the Latino and trans communities for which Corado serves as director.

Wallace was also among 12 contestants chosen as a trans “calendar girl” in a fundraising contest sponsored by Casa Ruby as part of a Casa Ruby program to help train clients as makeup artists, Corado said.

Budd said the victim had also been one of her clients at Transgender Health Empowerment, a trans advocacy and services organization that recently has curtailed its operations due to financial problems.

“Complainant 1 [the victim] stated that she had met with Suspect 1 at the event location to buy a cigarette,” the police report says. “According to Complainant 1, Suspect 1 then suddenly started to stab Complainant 1 for unknown reasons,” the report says.

Budd and Corado said Wallace also informed them that police told her father that the suspect had been arrested and was expected to appear for a presentment or arraignment at D.C. Superior Court on Saturday during the court’s weekend proceedings.

“She knows who this guy is and she told police who he is,” Budd told the Blade. “I’m puzzled over why the police won’t confirm whether they made this arrest or not.”

Crump didn’t respond to a Blade inquiry about whether an arrest had been made.

Sgt. Matt Mahl, supervisor of the police Gay and Lesbian Liaison Unit, said the unit had been briefed on the incident but said he wasn’t authorized to comment further. He said the incident was still under investigation.

Budd expressed concern that police officials had not issued a public announcement about the incident over the weekend to alert the media and the community that a trans person had been attacked in what Budd called another in a string of violent anti-trans attacks that have occurred in the city over the past several years.

“I just want to make sure that it gets out there, that this attack happened and how brutal it was,” Budd said. “And also the message needs to be sent that transgender folks need to be very, very cautious in terms of their surroundings, who they are talking to and especially in the nighttime hours.”

Budd and Corado said Wallace told them doctors informed her that she had been stabbed about 40 times.

D.C. property records show that the unoccupied house where the stabbing took place was sold for $100,000 in January to a company called the Kamyab Group based in Fredericksburg, Va.

Wallace said she and the attacker entered the house through a door that was detached from its hinges.

Lou Chibbaro Jr. has reported on the LGBT civil rights movement and the LGBT community for more than 30 years, beginning as a freelance writer and later as a staff reporter and currently as Senior News Reporter for the Washington Blade. He has chronicled LGBT-related developments as they have touched on a wide range of social, religious, and governmental institutions, including the White House, Congress, the U.S. Supreme Court, the military, local and national law enforcement agencies and the Catholic Church. Chibbaro has reported on LGBT issues and LGBT participation in local and national elections since 1976. He has covered the AIDS epidemic since it first surfaced in the early 1980s. Follow Lou

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