The U.S. Department of Justice is seeking out additional victims of a man arrested and detained on federal hate crime charges for attempting to rob and threatening to kill a transgender woman he met through the dating app Grindr in August.
The suspect, 28-year-old Salih Alhemoud of Texas, allegedly used the LGBTQ dating app to set up a date with a transgender woman and arranged to meet her at her apartment in southwest Houston. The woman claimed she had made it clear that she was transgender when arranging the meeting. But upon arriving at her apartment, Alhemoud allegedly became hostile to her.
The victim claims Alhemoud followed her into the bedroom, pulled out a pistol and demanded money from her. When she told him she didn’t have any money, he allegedly pistol-whipped her and stomped on her face and chest, according to the criminal complaint against him.
During the attack, Alhemoud allegedly told the victim she was going to die and made statements such as “my religion considers you a demon,” and that she “was a demon like the others, all you trans people,” while hurling anti-gay and anti-transgender slurs at her.
Alhemoud allegedly asked for money a second time, at which point the victim told him it was in her purse in the living room. When he went to retrieve the money, the victim fled the apartment, calling for help. Alhemoud then fled the scene with the woman’s purse. The victim and neighbors told local NBC affiliate KPRC that they saw the suspect drive off in a red Dodge Charger with black stripes.
Alhemoud was arrested in September and indicted on Oct. 26 on three separate charges: committing a hate crime based on a person’s gender identity and sexual orientation, kidnapping, and possessing a firearm during a crime of violence. At a detention hearing following his arrest, he was deemed to be a danger to the community and held without bail while he awaits trial, according to a Justice Department press release. If convicted, he could face up to life in prison.
The FBI and Houston Police Department are currently investigating a series of other similar incidents they believe may have been committed by Alhemoud, and released a photo of him, asking other possible victims to come forward if they have information pertaining to the Aug. 29 attack or that might establish a pattern of behavior.
People who believe they have been victims of similar crimes are asked to contact the FBI Houston Field Office at (713) 693-5000.
Houston-based ABC affiliate KTRK previously reported that Alhemoud was arrested three days after the robbery as part of a “road rage” incident, in which he allegedly drove a red car — later determined to match the description of the vehicle at the scene of the robbery — alongside the car of a married heterosexual couple and pointed a pistol at them.
The couple called 911 and followed Alhemoud’s car to assist police in tracking him down. Alhemoud allegedly led police on a brief chase before being arrested.
A separate group of Houston police detectives later linked Alhemoud’s car to the robbery and assault of the transgender victim, and were able to use technology to determine that the victim’s iPad was in the car. Using license plate records, they developed a photo lineup, out of which the transgender woman reportedly identified Alhemoud as her attacker.
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