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Two Transgender Women Attacked In Two Weeks On NE Block

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People have left tokens and flowers as a memorial to the transgender woman that was attacked on Dix Street NE Aug. 1. She was the second person attacked in this neighborhood in two weeks; the first was killed.
Armando Trull
People have left tokens and flowers as a memorial to the transgender woman that was attacked on Dix Street NE Aug. 1. She was the second person attacked in this neighborhood in two weeks; the first was killed.

District police are investigating an attack on a transgender woman that took place just a block away from where a transgender woman was murdered two weeks ago.

On Dix Street NE, right before the Maryland border, a handful of stuffed animals and flowers have been taped to a small tree.

Two weeks ago, police say Lashai McLean, a 23-year-old transgender woman, was shot and killed here. And this past Sunday, less than a hundred yards away from this make-shift memorial, another transgender woman was shot at.

Metropolitan Police are now investigating what they're calling "a potential emerging patter of crimes against the transgender community."

"We don't have anything to suggest that it is the same suspect right now," says Police Chief Cathy Lanier. "But when you have two incidents that are that similar, in a similar area, we want to make sure we put something out to try and raise the level of awareness in the community."

Earline Budd, a long-time transgender activist, says that block of Dix Street NE has become a well-known gathering spot for transgender prostitutes. She quickly points out, however, that not everyone who hangs out at night there is a sex worker.

She says it's clear in her mind there are individuals right now targeting transgender women.

"Specifically transgender individuals who are there, and may be doing commercial sex work on that borderline up there at Dix Street," says Budd. "Its very clear because we have had individuals who have been shot in the commission of being robbed, stabbed, we have individuals who have been punched in the face - all kinds of assaults."

Budd adds she's concerned because the violence "has escalated to the highest level it can go -- and that is murder."

Police Chief Cathy Lanier says at this point it's too early to classify the incidents as hate crimes.

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