T.J. Heard, 37, a Transgender woman of color was charged with multiple hate crimes after allegedly attacking eleven NYC white people with pepper spray and scissors.
CBS News identified the suspect as T.J. Heard, 37, a transgender woman, but have to date only used her deadname.
Fox News reports that Heard was arrested after allegedly threatening someone with a sharp object in the Bronx, and the victim worked with police to track her down. Authorities believe that Heard also was responsible for dousing a man with a pepper spray-like substance at the 125th St. subway station of the A/C/B/D lines on Friday, then running out into the street and spraying five more people.
Soon after, she allegedly attacked another woman waiting for the No. 1 train at W. 96th St. and Broadway. Then, around 2 p.m., a woman appearing to be Heard can be seen on a surveillance video violently kicking a stranger, Denise Galloway, in the leg before spraying her and her boyfriend.
EXCLUSIVE: more possible victims of “pepper-spray” attack. This woman says suspect physically attacked her in Bronx before spraying boyfriend. Cops say she sprayed 7 victims in Harlem. Being investigated as hate crimes. NYPD determining if this is connected. At 6pm on @ABC7NY. pic.twitter.com/hE5oeM07HN
— CeFaan Kim (@CeFaanKim) March 9, 2019
Investigators say the transgender suspect, who is black, confronted a couple on E. 187th Street near Crotona Avenue in the Bronx. The attacker allegedly approached the couple and asked the woman if she was white before pepper spraying her.
Police tell CBS2 the incident, the latest in a trio of alarming underground assaults that have gripped the city’s transit system, is being probed as a possible hate crime.
Investigators say the woman first sprayed someone on a platform inside the station at 125th Street and Lenox Avenue around noon. She then fled the station and sprayed another four people on the sidewalk between Lenox and St. Nicholas Avenues.
An hour later, police say she sprayed another woman outside the station at 96th Street and Broadway.
“It lights up your whole face on fire,” Joshua Smith, who was sprayed on his way home from a doctors appointment, said. “Your sinuses, your throat feels like it’s closing up. It’s rough.”
Police say they believe that Heard’s actions were racially motivated because all of her victims were white. When police arrested her, they recovered pepper spray and a pair of scissors. She has reportedly been charged with assault as a hate crime, menacing as a hate crime, harassment as a hate crime and assault with criminal possession of a weapon.