A man identifying as a transgender woman has been arrested in connection to around seven attacks in New York City’s Bronx area, after the aforementioned victims were doused in a pepper spray-like substance.
Thomas J. Heard was taken into custody after reportedly threatening another Bronx resident with a sharp object, and was caught by police due to cooperation by the victim.
Authorities believe the 37-year-old was also responsible for dousing several individuals with pepper spray, as well as violently kicking a stranger.
According to FOX News, one woman claims that they initially believed Heard had pulled a knife or gun, but the weapon was ultimately the aerosol-based defense spray.
EXCLUSIVE: more possible victims of “pepper-spray” attack. This woman says suspect physically attacked her in Bronx before spraying boyfriend. Cops say she sprayed 7 victims in Harlem. Being investigated as hate crimes. NYPD determining if this is connected. At 6pm on @ABC7NY. pic.twitter.com/hE5oeM07HN
— CeFaan Kim (@CeFaanKim) March 9, 2019
The NYPD believe that Heard’s actions were racially motivated, as all of the victims were white. After being arrested, authorities confiscated the pepper spray along with a pair of scissors.
Heard has since been charged with assault as a hate crime, menacing as a hate crime, harassment as a hate crime and assault with criminal possession of a weapon.
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