Suspect in Transgender Puerto Rican’s Brutal Attack Arrested

by Michael K. Lavers

National News Editor

Tuesday April 26, 2011

Puerto Rican authorities have arrested a man who allegedly attacked a transgender woman at a local gas station last week.

Primera Hora reported on Tuesday, April 26, that police responded to reports that a group of men were robbing and assaulting transgender women in San Juan's Santurce neighborhood. Investigators said one of the men taken into custody-José Ortíz, 22-allegedly attacked Francheska González as she pumped gas at a Río Piedras gas station early on Monday, April 18.

González suffered a fractured vertebra during the attack. González's mother, Olga Vázquez, told a local radio station that her daughter's assailant kicked in the head and throughout her body. "She is bruised all over," Vázquez told Radio Isla 1320 on April 20.

González was able to pick her alleged attacker out of a police line-up, and prosecutors are expected to formally charge Ortíz on Wednesday, April 27.

"We are satisfied that the suspect has been identified. Now we call upon the authorities to investigate the hate angle on this case, but foremost to do justice," Pedro Julio Serrano of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force told EDGE. "Anti-LGBT violence cannot be condoned and the government has to send a message that it will not tolerate any bias attack against the LGBT community or any other community."

Ortíz remains in custody.

Based in Washington, D.C., Michael K. Lavers has appeared in the New York Times, BBC, WNYC, Huffington Post, Village Voice, Advocate and other mainstream and LGBT media outlets. He is an unapologetic political junkie who thoroughly enjoys living inside the Beltway.