Daniela Hernandez, a transgender woman, was stabbed 16 times and had her throat slit in a park in downtown Los Angeles Sunday.
Hernandez survived and is in stable condition at a local hospital, L.A. TV station KCBS reports, as police search for multiple suspects in what they consider a hate crime.
Hernandez was assaulted about 9 p.m. Sunday in MacArthur Park. “Daniela was simply walking on the street when suddenly she was brutally attacked by about four or five people,” according to a news release from the TransLatin@ Coalition. “The suspects said gay slurs to Daniela as she was being attacked and apparently a woman who was with the men was the person who sliced Daniela’s throat.”
She has been “an integral and valued volunteer with TransLatin@ Coalition in ensuring that daily meals were provided to our community each and every day,” the release continues. “She led with love and passion, to ensure that community was taken care of.”
“We are filled with relief and happy that Daniela is still with us today, but outraged with the lack of respect for trans lives,” the release says, noting the many homicides (up to 31 now) of trans people in the U.S., mostly Black and Latinx women.
“It is unbelievable that there is no compassion for members of our community in the midst of this global pandemic,” Bamby Salcedo, the coalition’s president and CEO, said in the release. “I do not get why people continue to have this kind of hate towards our community, being that our community is one of the hardest hit from this pandemic. Transphobia is rampant towards our sisters and we need to stop it now!”
Police said they are searching for three men and one woman; they have not released detailed descriptions. The suspects could face charges of assault with a deadly weapon, with a hate-crime enhancement, L.A.’s KABC reports.
Activists marched Monday night in MacArthur Park to show support and demand justice for Hernandez. “She’s a very kind individual who is always doing good for people, and just for her to be attacked in this way is not fair,” Salcedo told KABC at the march.
Those who wish to send cards or messages to Hernandez may do so in care of the TransLatin@ Coalition, 3055 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 350, Los Angeles, CA 90010 or email email@example.com with the subject “Letter for Daniela.”