A man has been charged with bias-motivated assault after he was accused of stabbing a 15-year-old transgender girl aboard a Metro train in northeast Washington, D.C.
Police said 24-year-old Reginald Anthony Klaiber, of Greenbelt, Md., had exchanged words with the teen Wednesday afternoon. He is accused of stabbing her in the back aboard the Green Line train approaching Fort Totten station, a local ABC affiliate reported.
Witnesses told investigators that Mr. Klaiber made "bias-motivated remarks about the victim's transgender status immediately prior to the assault."
A friend of the victim, 19-year-old Jae-la White, who witnessed the alleged attack told The Washington Blade: "He came to my friend and said, 'You have red hair,' My friend said 'OK,' and then he said, 'Oh, you're a man!' "
The victim got up to go to the door and told the suspected attacker to leave her alone, to no avail.
Another friend who was with the victim pepper-sprayed the suspect in the face, and they were able to run away.
Ms. White pushed the emergency call button and then rushed off the train at Fort Totten station. She said it took four police officers to subdue and handcuff the suspect when they finally arrived.
"I will say that the witnesses in this case did everything right," Metro spokesman Dan Stessel told The Blade. "They pressed the emergency intercom to notify the train operator, they provided a good description of the suspect, and they remained on scene to talk to detectives."
Police recovered a 3.5-inch folding knife from the scene.
The victim was transported to a local hospital with a non-life-threatening puncture wound and is in stable condition.
Police said Mr. Klaiber, if convicted, faces a maximum penalty on an assault with a deadly weapon charge. The charge could result in an enhanced jail sentence under the D.C. hate crimes law, The Blade reported.
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