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A Dallas transgender woman who was shot multiple times last month is recuperating, and a suspect has been arrested but is free on bond.
The name of the woman, who was attacked at a bus stop September 20, was not initially released by authorities, but now The Dallas Morning News has identified her as Daniela Calderon, 35. She was shot five times in the abdomen, and also in the chest and arm, local trans activists told the Morning News. She is still hospitalized.
"She is out of critical condition. But she is still in the state where they have to watch her closely," Stacey Monroe of La Organizacion Latina de Trans en Texas told the paper this week. "She's going through a lot mentally and physically. ... We can feel her pain. We sense her sadness, and it's heartbreaking, honestly."
A suspect, Domingo Ramirez-Cayente, was arrested September 24, initially on traffic charges, but his vehicle matched the one seen on surveillance video of the attack on Calderon. During an interview he admitted to shooting her, according to a Dallas Police Department report. Calderon had told police she encountered him when he was driving down the street and that he made derogatory comments about gay and transgender people. She walked away and went to a bus stop, but he drove up to her and the attack ensued, the report says.
After the police interview, he was charged with aggravated assault. He posted bond and was released September 26, with orders "not to consume alcohol, possess a deadly weapon or have any contact with his alleged victim," the Morning News reports.
Monroe said she did not know Ramirez-Cayente had been released until the Morning News contacted her. "One of [Calderon's] biggest fears was that he was going to post bond," Monroe told the paper. "Now that that's happened, we have to take steps to deal with her fear and anxiety."
Monroe's organization held a demonstration Tuesday at the Dallas police headquarters, calling for Ramirez-Cayente to be charged with a hate crime, which would mean a longer sentence if he is convicted. Texas hate-crimes law does not cover crimes motivated by a victim's gender identity, but U.S. law does, so charges would have to be brought at the federal level for that to happen. The FBI has been notified and will investigate, Dallas police told the Morning News.
In the past five years, nearly half the murders of transgender Americans have occurred in Texas, according to the Human Rights Campaign. State Rep. Garnet Coleman, a Houston Democrat, has tried for 12 years to add gender identity to the hate-crimes law, which does cover sexual orientation, but his bills have never passed.
Constant reports of violence against our community are difficult to read, especially as we continue to face historic rates. If you or someone you know is experiencing violence, you can reach out to the Anti-Violence Project's free bilingual (English/Spanish) national hotline at (212) 714-1141 or report online for support.