CRIME

Fredericksburg transgender attack: 2 suspects in custody, 2 more on the loose

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This story has been updated.

Farkeem French, 19, is charged in connection with the attack on a transgender woman in Frederickburg. (Fredericksburg Police Department)

A second suspect has turned himself in to police in connection with an attack against a transgender woman in Fredericksburg.

Police say 19-year-old Farkeem Fench surrendered Thursday morning. He is charged with malicious wounding by mob. His girlfriend, 18-year-old Laqueta Webb, is also is police custody. Two other people allegedly involved with the assault are still on the loose, and have not yet been identified.

Saturday afternoon as the woman walked away from a neighborhood store, she was confronted by three young men and a teenage girl about previous, minor neighborhood disputes.

Then, the woman tells ABC7 News, they taunted her sexuality.

"I was treated like an animal.," she says.

She prefers to be shown in shadow not because she is transgender, but because some of her attackers haven't been caught. For the sake of this protection, she's referred to as Anne.

"They were laughing about it, it was a game to them, they were taking turns," she says.

Angry words turned into physical violence. She was spit on and hit with a metal broom handle. Her lip was ripped, her head and body battered.

"I just got hit in the mouth and there was blood everywhere."

She says she tried to fight for her life, then her neighbor ran over to help.

"For her to get down and throw herself on top of me to protect me from blows that she had to take."

Today a senior from James Monroe High School in Fredericksburg,18-year-old Laqueta Webb, and her boyfriend, 19-year-old Farkeem French, are in custody in connection with the attack. But the search remains for at least two other people who were involved.

"They are going to have to answer for this and we are going to find out who they are," said Natatia Bledsoe of the Fredericksburg Police.

Anne says she was stunned to learn that Virginia's hate crime laws don't include sexual orientation.

"You're a black baptist or a black Christian or a Jew, then it's something different," she says.

Anne says the healing process for her will include working to change the law.

"I'm going to try my best to see if i can get someone to pay attention to that," she says. "I'm never going to forget what they said, I'm never going to forget how I was treated I'm never going to forget being spit on, I'm never going to forget being kicked."

Anne continued, "If there's one person out there that I can protect like this or give them the sense of not being scared of who they are, then I've done what I've supposed to do."

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