A Detroit judge ruled Monday that a man committed “ethnic intimidation” when he approached and shot a transgender person at a gas station in Detroit.
Judge Willam McConico ruled in a preliminary hearing Monday that 29-year-old Deonton A. Rogers had not committed a hate crime, but expressed “ethnic intimidation” after calling a transgender person disparaging names and threatening violence.
“There are no protections unfortunately for people in the LGBTQ community,” Judge Willam McConico also said at the hearing, explaining that a Detroit judge cannot charge an aggressor with a hate crime under state law.
Monday’s hearing comes after Kimora Steuball — a biological male — went to buy cigarettes at a Detroit gas station July 23 when Rogers approached him and began using disparaging language about Steuball’s appearance before pulling a gun on him, Fox2Detroit reported Monday.
“I didn’t know what was going to happen to me. I was terrified for my life,” Steuball said, alleging that Rogers pulled a gun on him and threatened to shoot.
“I’ll kill you,” Rogers said, according to Steuball’s testimony.
Steuball claims he tried to grab the gun from Rogers which then went off, wounding Steuball’s shoulder. Rogers’s attorney maintains that he didn’t mean to fire the gun.
“My client never intentionally fired a weapon and in fact he was leaving the building,” his attorney said. (RELATED: Group of Transgender People Sue Texas Chicken And Burgers Over Chicken Discrepancy, Alleged Discrimination)
“This was a hate crime — this man attacked another individual because she was transgender,” Steuball’s attorney Jaimie Powell-Horowitz said.
Rogers has a criminal record and cannot legally carry a gun.
Officials believe the incident began outside the Mobil gas station at West Seven Mile and Greenfield roads and continued inside, ClickonDetroit reported Monday.
Rogers was arraigned July 28 and charged with firearm discharge, felonious assault, felony firearm, child abuse and ethnic intimidation based on gender, according to Fox2Detroit. Rogers will head to trial following Monday’s preliminary hearing.
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