Teens arrested in suspected hate crime attack against transwoman

TUKWILA, Wash. – Deputies from the King County Sheriff’s Office detained four teenagers and arrested three of them after they allegedly attacked a transgender woman late Tuesday night.

The incident happened near a King County Metro bus stop along Andover Park West shortly before 10:30 p.m.

Ryan Abbott, from the King County Sheriff’s Office, told Q13 News the victim and teens boarded a bus departing from the Tukwila International Boulevard Transit Center earlier Tuesday evening. It was there, according to Abbott, an altercation may have started.

"The boys said something or made fun of the victim," said Abbott.

The victim and the boys had all been riding on a bus but had not been seated together. Abbott said the victim may have been taunted and at one point left their seat and pepper-sprayed the teens. When the victim got off the bus the teens followed and attacked the victim, allegedly.

During the assault, said Abbot, the teens allegedly yelled slurs.

"They were using some derogatory language towards her sexuality while she was on the ground," said Abbott.

The teens were arrested nearby. Deputies recovered a hatchet and realistic-looking BB gun, though neither was reportedly used during the attack.

Four male teens were detained, but only three - two 16-year-olds and a 14-year-old - have been booked, according to the sheriff's office.

The victim  was taken to a hospital to treat what were described as minor injuries.

Abbott said detectives are reviewing surveillance video from the Metro bus along with video shot by a bystander at the scene of the assault.

The suspected attackers could be charged with a hate crime.

"We take malicious harassment very seriously," said Abbott. "We want people to be able to live their lives and be treated like anybody else."