An unidentified male suspect who entered the Casa Ruby LGBT center offices on Georgia Avenue, N.W., on Tuesday afternoon punched a female transgender client and sprayed her in the face with mace before fleeing the scene, according to Casa Ruby executive director Ruby Corado.
Corado said the client, who is in her 20s, was taken to a hospital by ambulance shortly after D.C. police arrived on the scene in response to a 911 call by a Casa Ruby employee.
“She was sprayed all over with the mace,” said Corado, who added the suspect sprayed the mace in other parts of the Casa Ruby offices before running out of the office.
A police report of the incident obtained by the Washington Blade on Wednesday morning says police have listed the incident as a “suspected hate crime” based on the victim’s status as an LGBT person. The report lists the action by the suspect as a “simple assault.”
The report says a member of the police LGBT Liaison responded to the scene and that a Third District Police detective was notified of the incident.
Corado, who wasn’t at the office when the incident occurred, said police are in possession of video images of the suspect captured by a security camera that Casa Ruby installed after another male attacker assaulted a transgender female client in March.
Police later arrested D.C. resident Andrew Cook in connection with that incident, charging him with misdemeanor assault and felony destruction of property for smashing a glass door to gain entrance to Casa Ruby.
The police report of the incident on Tuesday, Dec. 12, says a witness to the incident observed the suspect “running out of the building” after spraying the victim with pepper spray. It says the witness saw the suspect “jumping into a car on the 700 block of Gresham Street, N.W. and heading westbound in that block.”
Police spokesperson Rachel Schaerr Reid said Lt. Brett Parson, who oversees the LGBT Liaison Unit, also responded to the scene of the incident on Tuesday.
Corado said she is hoping police will release a photo of the suspect in this week’s incident obtained from the video camera so that potential witnesses or someone who knows him will come forward to help police make an arrest.
“When you come in an establishment and attack people they just feel like they’re so powerful they can beat somebody up and get away with it,” Corado said. “That’s the kind of mentality and it’s so wrong.”