Suspect Identified in Transphobic Attack in Queens

Attackers pepper-sprayed two women on June 29

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Police have identified a man they want to question in connection to anti-LGBTQ attacks on two transgender women in Queens late last month.

Bianey Garcia and Norma Ureiro were victims of apparent hate crimes in two separate attacks at Roosevelt Avenue and 82nd Street in Jackson Heights during the early morning hours of June 29 — one day before the city’s WorldPride march. According to Garcia, a man and a woman first approached them and hurled anti-LGBTQ sentiments, saying, “You are a fucking faggot, you’re not a real woman.” Garcia, an activist and former sex worker, also said the attackers said they accused her of engaging in prostitution.

One of the attackers, 24-year-old Paola Custodio, then pepper-sprayed Garcia twice and was arrested on the scene. Later that morning, Garcia was pepper-sprayed again by the man who cops now identify as 34-year-old David Gonzalez.

“I literally was scared,” Garcia told Gay City News on July 2. “I didn’t know if he was going to use a weapon or a knife. I was spilling water in my eyes. I remember someone took my hand and put me on a bench. I sat down and called the police again.”

Garcia confirmed the man’s identity when she posted on Twitter about the news on July 9, writing, “He is the one that pepper sprayed me in my face.”

Garcia was treated at Elmhurst Hospital following the attacks and told Gay City News several days later that she was feeling better.

Custodio, meanwhile, was released from custody within a matter of days, Garcia said.

Police describe Gonzalez as six feet tall and 170 pounds.

Updated 4:07 pm, July 10, 2019
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