A man has been charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon in connection with a shooting that left a Houston transgender woman paralyzed.
Eric Aguillon, 25, appeared in court Monday, where his bond was raised to $280,000, with most of that amount reflecting a previous assault charge, in which he’s accused of choking a family member, Houston TV station KTRK reports.
Aguillon met the woman, whose name has not been released, on a dating app. At her apartment in southwest Houston, the morning of May 7, she told him she was transgender after they had engaged in sexual activity. He then shot her in the chest, according to court documents obtained by local media.
The two had a “verbal exchange” after she revealed her identity to him, but Aguillon’s attorney Val Zuniga says there was also a physical altercation and that his client shot the woman in self-defense.
The woman told KTRK reporter Briana Conner there was no physical altercation and that what happened to her was a hate crime, motivated by her identity. Aguillon has not been charged with a hate crime. Texas hate-crimes law does not include crimes motivated by a victim’s sexual orientation or gender identity, but federal prosecutors could bring charges under the national law, which is LGBTQ-inclusive.
“It would never happen if I wasn’t the type of person I am,” the woman said. “But like I said, I’m not going to let that deter me. I’m still going to be the person I am and push through.”
She underwent surgery and rehabilitation, and she can move her arms and upper body but not her legs. She is receiving physical therapy that she hopes will restore her ability to walk.
Aguillon was out on bail on the previous charge when the incident with the woman took place. The matter remains under investigation. He is being held in the Harris County Jail in Houston.