August 15, 2019 at 9:28 am EDT | by Lou Chibbaro Jr.
Arrest made in attack on trans woman at DC gas station
Alicia Love, gay news, Washington Blade
Alicia Love Wood says a group of men attacked her on Aug. 2, 2019, after she left work. (Photo via Facebook)

D.C. police on Wednesday announced they have arrested a 17-year-old juvenile male in connection with the Aug. 2 assault and robbery of a transgender woman by seven young men in two locations, including inside a convenience store at a Citgo gas station at 3820 Minnesota Ave., N.E.

In an Aug. 14 statement, police said detectives with the Metropolitan Police Department’s Sixth District arrested the juvenile one day earlier on Tuesday, Aug. 13 and charged him with Robbery-Force and Violence.

The statement says the incident is being investigated as a potential hate crime based on an account by the victim, D.C. resident Alicia Love Wood, that the attackers called her anti-transgender names. The statement says the investigation into the whereabouts of the other five suspects remains open and police are seeking help from the public to identify them.

The arrest of the 17-year-old, whose name must be withheld under the city’s laws related to juvenile offenders, came four days after police released a video showing four of the six suspects at the Citgo gas station, where Wood said three of them assaulted and robbed her.

The video shows three of the suspects entering a small convenience store at the gas station, where Wood said she fled to seek help after first being attacked by all seven of the suspects on the street about one block from the gas station. The video shows the three suspects approaching Wood inside the small convenience store and shows a fourth suspect outside the store looking inside through a large glass window.

A police report says the incident at the gas station took place about 3:20 a.m. Friday, Aug. 2.

Wood gave a detailed account of the attack in a posting on her Facebook page. She also spoke with the Washington Blade, saying the incident took place shortly after she got off work from her job at the DC Eagle gay bar, which is located about three blocks from the Citgo gas station.

“The Metropolitan Police Department is investigating this offense as potentially being motivated by hate or bias,” the police statement says. “Anyone who has knowledge of this incident should take no action but call police at 202-727-9099 or text your tip to the Department’s TEXT TIP Line at 50411,” the statement says.

It says the city’s Crime Solvers program offers a reward of up to $1,000 to anyone who provides information leading to an arrest and indictment of someone responsible for a crime committed in the city.

Under the city’s juvenile justice law prosecutors have the option of charging a 17-year-old as an adult, in which case the arrested person’s name would become part of the public record. It couldn’t’ immediately be determined whether the D.C. Attorney General’s Office, which prosecutes juvenile cases, might be considering turning the case over to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for prosecution of the youth as an adult.

If the case remains in the juvenile court system, under existing D.C. law, all aspects of the proceedings – including whether a juvenile is found guilty or innocent – are withheld from the public record.

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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