A Houston man has been arrested and charged with robbing a transgender woman at gunpoint, pistol-whipping her, and stomping on her before fleeing — only to point a gun at a couple inside their car three days later.
Salih Alhemoud, 28, has been charged with aggravated robbery with a deadly weapon for threatening the woman, whom he met on the gay dating app Grindr, following a pattern of similar assaults that have used dating apps to victimize members of the LGBTQ community.
Prosecutors alleged in court documents that Alhemoud targeted the victim based on her sexual orientation and gender identity.
The woman, whose identity is being kept anonymous for her own protection, claims she arranged to meet Alhemoud at her apartment in southwest Houston on Aug. 29. She says she clearly identified herself as transgender when arranging to meet. But when he showed up around 1:30 p.m., he became hostile.
The woman says Alhemoud followed her into the bedroom and closed the door behind him. He then pulled out a dark-colored pistol, pointed it at her, and demanded money.
“He said, ‘You are a demon like the other ones, you are demon, because of my religion,” the woman told Houston-based ABC affiliate KTRK. “And I’m like, ‘I’m not a bad person, you’re on Grindr trying to find trans women, what is the point? Please leave me alone.'”
After she told him he did not carry cash on her person, Alhemoud hit her with the butt of the pistol multiple times, causing her to fall to the floor. He continued to assault her, stomping on her face and torso. He also repeatedly insulted her during the robbery, calling her a “demon” and saying she “wouldn’t come out of this alive,” according to NBC affiliate KPRC.
He again asked for money, at which point she told him it was in her purse in the living room. When he went to the living room, she fled the apartment.
“He told me, ‘Wait in the bedroom’, and oh, of course I thought not. When he went to the living room, I went running out and screaming, ‘Help, help, help!”
Alhemoud allegedly fled the scene, taking the woman’s purse with him. The victim and neighbors said they saw him drive off in a red Dodge Charger with black stripes.
Three days later, on Sept. 1, Alhemoud, still driving the same red car, pointed a pistol at John and Veronica Avila as they drove down Congress Avenue, on their way home from the general store they own in downtown Houston.
“Not only did he point the gun at us, but he pointed the gun at all the people around us, as well,” the couple said.
“Initially, I thought it was just road rage,” John Avila told KTRK. “But at that point, you realize, it’s that much more serious.”
The Avilas called 911 and followed Alhemoud until police could arrest him.
Alhemoud allegedly led Houston police on a brief chase before being detained and arrested.
On Tuesday, a separate group of Houston police investigators were able to link Alhemoud to the robbery and assault of the transgender woman.
Those investigators used a description of Alhemoud’s vehicle, obtained from witnesses, and were able to ping the location of the victim’s iPad, which the suspect had in his possession. They tracked the location to another apartment complex in Houston, saw a vehicle matching the description in the parking lot, and pulled records from the license plate number before creating a photo lineup of possible suspects.
The victim was later able to pick Alhemoud out from the photo lineup, and brought the robbery charge against him.
Alhemoud is currently being held in the Harris County Jail on a $100,000 bond.
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!