A 26-year-old Christian extremist is in jail for attempted murder after he allegedly shot a trans woman in the face in Indiana. The horrific incident happened on July 10, and the shooter, Gerald Duane Lewis, had his first court appearance on July 12. The Christian extremist’s shooting of the trans woman is being called a hate crime by many, and it reportedly took place after the suspect asked the victim, Crystal Raquel Cash, 55, if he could use the bathroom at her place of business.
As Patheos reports, the Christian extremist reportedly yelled homophobic slurs during the attack.
It has been reported that Lewis, who allegedly shot the trans woman without provocation, is a member of the Christian hate group Israel United in Christ. The Christian extremist has reportedly claimed membership in the church, which has been labeled a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
“Black Hebrew Israelites, a sub-sect within the black separatist movement, believe that African Americans are the real Jews, the Biblical chosen people of God. They oppose integration and interracial marriage and are virulently anti-Semitic, anti-white and anti-LGBT – frequently expressing those views in public locations.”
The Israel United in Christ church specifically thumbs its nose at both interracial marriages and the LGBT lifestyle. On their Tumblr account, the group claims that Blacks and Hispanics are the Biblical 12 tribes of Israel.
After Lewis, the Christian extremist, allegedly shot the Indiana trans woman in the face, breaking her jaw and resulting in formal attempted murder charges filed July 15, the leader of the Christian hate group posted a statement indicating that the shooter was no longer affiliated with the Israel United in Christ church.
Following the shooting of the trans victim, her brother Johnny Dickens spoke out in his sister’s defense. He was upset at the manner in which she had been being portrayed by the media after having allegedly been shot by the Christian extremist at her business. As the Advocate reports, the trans woman (and victim in the brutal shooting) was being smeared in the local media. The trans woman shot by the Christian extremist had been accused by The Courier Press of running a questionable massage business at the time she was senselessly shot.
“I just want to set the record straight and tell the world that my sister has come a long way from where she’s come. She has made something of herself. She’s a professional business owner and she is not some sort of a prostitute that’s luring people into her office.”
According to Dickens, his sister was deliberately targeted because she is a trans woman. He would like to see her Christian extremist shooter face hate crime charges. Unfortunately, Indiana’s legal code doesn’t allow for hate crime charges when victims are targeted for their sexual orientation.
man, i have to say that this situation in Indiana where a trans woman was shot in the face (she's alive) has me scratching my head.— b. binaohan (@mxbees) July 16, 2016
The Christian extremist who allegedly shot the trans woman is currently incarcerated at the Vanderburgh County jail. He has been charged with attempted murder, robbery, and carrying a handgun without a permit. Bond has been set at $5 million.
In addition to the trans woman’s family, many locals are concerned about the way the victim has been shamed and smeared in the media after being shot in the face, allegedly due to her sexual identification. Especially during a year where at least 15 trans women, mostly trans women of color, have been murdered in the United States.
The State of Indiana has been a hotbed of controversy when it comes to anti-LGBT legislation. In response to last summer’s historic Supreme Court ruling that legalized same-sex marriage nationwide, Indiana Governor (and current Trump VP pick) Mike Pence defended his state’s anti-LGBT legislation, calling it “religious freedom,” not discrimination.
Part of Indiana’s anti-LGBT legislation prevents crimes perpetuated against people based on their sexual orientation from being legally labeled “hate crimes.”
The trans woman who was shot in the face is expected to recover, although her jaw is still wired shut; the Christian extremist who allegedly shot her is now awaiting his day in court.
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