A transgender woman in Jacksonville, Florida is in hospital with life-threatening injuries after she was attacked, tied up, and then dragged behind a minivan for two blocks.
Police have arrested Eric Shaun Bridges, 34, for attempted murder, after information led to the discovery of the vehicle used.
The city’s Real Time Crime Center said that the incident — which took place early on Friday, Sept. 27 — was recorded, but police wouldn’t be releasing footage as it was too graphic to be viewed by the public, reports WJXT.
“We can’t release it,” said Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office Assistant Chief Brien Kee. “It is horrendous.”
Police are continuing to investigate the attack, and said that the victim, who hasn’t been named, was left lying in the street after the rope tying her to the car was cut.
WJXT said that the woman was identified as transgender by multiple sources, though police refused to confirm the information.
According to witness reports, police think that the attack started in the Majestic Plaza Apartments complex, with the woman then taken outside and tied to the rear bumper of the minivan. Officers believe she may have been unconscious at that time.
Investigators found the minivan over the weekend, after learning that it had been reported stolen prior to the attack. That discovery plus other information led to Bridges, who was arrested on Sunday evening.
Though the sheriff’s office has not stated a motive for the attack, WJXT’s crime and safety analyst Ken Jefferson said, “It sounds like a hate crime, some type of revenge incident. Their purpose was to kill that person, evidently. If they’re…tying them to a vehicle and dragging [them] through the street, they don’t want that person to live.”
Fears were sparked in Jacksonville last year after four transgender women were shot, three fatally, in the span of six months, leading trans advocates to speculate that transgender women were being deliberately targeted.
Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office last week announced that a man has been charged with murder in one of those deaths. Sean Bernard Phoenix, 21, admitted to shooting Celine Walker, 36, in February 2018 at a hotel in Jacksonville.
The Sheriff’s Office investigated the crime for more than a year before finally arresting Phoenix and charging him with murder. He has also been charged with evidence tampering.
In the months after Walker’s death, 38-year-old Antash’a English was found suffering from a gunshot wound to the abdomen in between two abandoned houses and 24-year-old Cathalina Christina James was found shot to death in a hotel room.
“A lot of those crimes that happen with transgender women have been made at the hands of men that they’ve been involved with,” transgender activist Paige Mahogany Parks told WJXT.
The sheriff’s office later arrested the boyfriend of the fourth victim who survived, who allegedly shot his girlfriend after a dispute.