D.C. police on Monday arrested a 33-year-old Florida man for allegedly using a stolen bicycle to assault the manager of a downtown Wawa store while shouting anti-gay slurs and threatening to kill the manager, according to a police statement and court charging documents.
The police statement says the incident remains under investigation as a potential hate crime. It couldn’t immediately be determined if the store manager is gay or whether the attacker incorrectly perceived him to be gay.
It becomes the seventh incident within the past three weeks in which an LGBT person or someone perceived to be LGBT was assaulted or threatened in the D.C. area.
The most serious of the seven incidents was the June 13 murder of D.C. transgender woman Zoe Spears, who was shot to death by an unidentified assailant in Fairmount Heights, Md., just across the D.C. line near Eastern Avenue.
A police arrest affidavit filed in D.C. Superior Court on Tuesday says Nehemiah Allen Taylor of Miami with no fixed address in D.C., attacked the Wawa store manager on Monday with the bicycle outside the store. It says the attack occurred after he entered the Wawa store at 1111 19th St., N.W., and began “threatening people, yelling and screaming and acting aggressively toward the staff.”
The affidavit says the manager, who is listed in the affidavit as Complainant 1, responded by telling Taylor to leave the store and not to return because he was creating a disturbance by threatening the staff and the store’s customers.
According to the affidavit, Taylor exited the store through the front doors and immediately began to bang his hands against the store’s front windows while “continuing to yell and scream” at the manager. It says a witness who was sitting at a table in front of the window told police Taylor used his fingers to write “DIE” on the front glass window while continuing to scream.
“Complaint 1 approached Defendant 1 in an attempt to get him to move away from his store and leave the area,” the affidavit says. “Defendant 1 proceeded to pick up a red Capital Bikeshare bicycle and used it as a weapon to strike Complainant 1. Complainant 1 reported that Defendant 1 struck him in the left forearm with the bicycle,” the affidavit says.
A separate police statement says the store manager wasn’t seriously injured.
“After walking back up to Complainant 1, Defendant 1 began to use anti-gay slurs toward Complainant 1, calling him a ‘faggot’ and several other homophobic slurs while continually calling him gay,” the affidavit continues. “Complainant 1 stated that Defendant 1 called him ‘every slur there is’ and further stated that some he had not heard in years,” according to the affidavit.
“While using the anti-gay slurs towards Complainant 1, Defendant 1 stated ‘I’m going to fucking kill you’ and proceeded to walk past Complainant 1 and enter the store again,” the affidavit says. It says Defendant 1 (Taylor) left the store a short time later and was apprehended by D.C. police who arrived on the scene at approximately 4:30 p.m. in response to call for help from the store.
The affidavit says that Taylor admitted to the officers on the scene that he struck the store manager with the bicycle. It says that after being taken to the Second District police station for booking Taylor waived his Miranda rights informing him he had a right to a lawyer and he wasn’t required to answer questions by police.
He told police at the station, among other things, “I don’t like gay people,” the affidavit says.
Police charged Taylor with assault, attempted possession of a prohibited weapon (the bicycle), unlawful entry, and attempted threats to do bodily harm.
Court records show D.C. Superior Court Judge Rene Raymond agreed to release Taylor on at an arraignment on Tuesday, June 25, on condition that he stay away from the Wawa store and report to the court’s Pretrial Services Agency. Raymond ordered Taylor to return to court for a status hearing on July 31, court records show.
The court records show he pleaded not guilty to the charges through his court appointed lawyer and requested a trial.