An 18-year-old D.C. man was ordered held in jail without bond on Monday for allegedly stabbing a transgender woman about 5:40 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 26, outside a McDonald’s restaurant at 601 F St., N.W., where the Verizon Center is located, according to court charging documents.
A police arrest affidavit filed in D.C. Superior Court says Larry Jeffers, a resident of the 2500 block of Pomeroy Rd., S.E., was charged with assault with a dangerous weapon after being arrested by a D.C. police officer who witnessed the incident.
D.C. police initially designated the incident as an anti-transgender hate crime, but prosecutors with the U.S. Attorney’s Office did not include the hate crime designation when they filed the assault-with-a-dangerous-weapon charge in court on Monday.
William Miller, a spokesperson for the U.S. Attorney’s Office, told the Washington Blade that prosecutors often add a hate crime designation at a later date in cases like this one.
Transgender activists were relieved that a D.C. police officer who was in his police cruiser at the time chased down the attacker on foot and arrested him a short distance from the scene.
Activists also expressed concern, however, that an initial police report identified the victim as a “male,” an action that goes against reporting procedures set by Police Chief Cathy Lanier that call for identifying transgender people by the gender with which they self-identify.
Police spokesperson Gwendolyn Crump said the public version of the report was changed to indicate the victim is a female following an inquiry by the Blade. Crump said the version of the report not released to the public states the victim is a transgender woman and that police were investigating the incident as a hate crime.
Transgender rights advocate Ruby Corado, founder and executive director of Casa Ruby, a D.C. LGBT community services center with an outreach to the trans community, said the victim told her that Jeffers stabbed her after yelling anti-transgender and anti-gay names at her and other trans women who were with her at the McDonald’s.
“She has four stab wounds,” Corado said. “We have her in a safe place at a Casa Ruby facility.”
Jason Terry of the D.C. Trans Coalition said he learned from a police official that the victim was stabbed three times in the lower back and once in the upper torso.
A separate police report says the victim, whom Corado says is 23, was taken at the time of the incident to a hospital for treatment of injuries designated as non-life-threatening. Corado said Officer Zunnobia Hakir of the police Gay and Lesbian Liaison Unit drove the victim to a location arranged for by Casa Ruby after she was released from the hospital.
A Superior Court judge ordered Jeffers held without bond until at least Sept. 30, when he is scheduled to appear at a preliminary hearing.
The police arrest affidavit says the victim ran into the street seconds after Officer T. Beirne, who was sitting in his cruiser, witnessed her fall to the ground while a suspect later identified as Jeffers had a knife in his hand and “was making a stabbing motion.”
The affidavit quotes the victim as shouting, “He stabbed me, he stabbed me.” It says Officer Beirne made a U-turn with his vehicle and followed Jeffers after observing Jeffers fleeing the scene.
“Officer Beirne noticed that Defendant 1 had blood on his hands, shirt, pants and backpack,” the affidavit says. “After Defendant 1 was detained Officer Beirne began to walk back retracing Defendant 1’s steps and observed a bloody steak knife in the street about 20 to 30 feet from where Defendant 1 was stopped,” the affidavit says.
Jeffers’ attorney, Brandi Harden, couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.
The stabbing of the trans woman was one of at least seven violent incidents, including robberies and assaults, that took place in Northwest Washington Friday and Saturday night shortly after Pope Francis ended his D.C. visit.