- The Magazine
A Houston man has been charged for shooting a transgender woman he met on a dating app in the chest, resulting in her becoming paralyzed, after finding out about her gender identity.
Eric Aguillon, 25, met the victim on a dating app called MeetMe back in May. They arranged to meet for a sexual encounter at her apartment, in the city’s Sharpstown area, on the morning of May 7. But after discovering her gender identity — she claims she told him beforehand — the two began to argue.
“He said I didn’t tell him I was transgender. I could swear I told him or he felt between my legs and he knew,” the victim — whose identity is being kept confidential to protect her — told Houston-area CBS affiliate KHOU.
According to charging documents, Aguillon became angry, and the victim asked him to leave during the verbal altercation. She maintains that Aguillon shot her in the chest as he was leaving.
Aguillon’s attorney Val Zuniga, claims his client acted in self-defense.
“As he was attempting to leave, our position is the alleged victim got physical with him, and he was placed in a position where he had to defend himself,” Zuniga said in a statement.
But the victim said there was never any physical altercation, according to ABC affiliate KTRK-TV.
Court documents say the victim became paralyzed after being shot, and can move her arms and upper body, but not her legs. She’s undergoing physical therapy and hopes to eventually regain the ability to walk, telling local news media that she suffered internal injuries, including a laceration on her liver and her spinal cord.
“They said I was lucky to be alive,” she said.
Aguillon has since been charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. His bond was initially set at $30,000 and he was ordered to remain under house arrest. But it was later raised to $280,000 after being combined with a previous charge of assault of a family member impeding breath or circulation, for which he was out on bail at the time of the shooting, according to the Houston Chronicle.
Though Aguillon has not been charged with bias enhancements, the victim believes the shooting constitutes a hate crime.
“It would never happen if I wasn’t the type of person I am,” she said. “But like I said, I’m not going to let that deter me. I’m still going to be the person I am and push through.”
Zuniga, Aguillon’s attorney, on the other hand, told the Chronicle that “the elements of the complaint do not follow the statute of a hate crime” and that the shooting stemmed from him “just trying to get out of the apartment” after the altercation allegedly turned physical.
These are challenging times for news organizations. And yet it’s crucial we stay active and provide vital resources and information to both our local readers and the world. So won’t you please take a moment and consider supporting Metro Weekly with a membership? For as little as $5 a month, you can help ensure Metro Weekly magazine and MetroWeekly.com remain free, viable resources as we provide the best, most diverse, culturally-resonant LGBTQ coverage in both the D.C. region and around the world. Memberships come with exclusive perks and discounts, your own personal digital delivery of each week’s magazine (and an archive), access to our Member's Lounge when it launches this fall, and exclusive members-only items like Metro Weekly Membership Mugs and Tote Bags! Check out all our membership levels here and please join us today!