Two men charged in hate-based attack on transgender women

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Carlos Hernandez-Sanez, 18, and Edras Vasquez, 20 (PHOTO: Montgomery County Police Department)

WHEATON, Md. – According to the Montgomery County Police Department, two men were arrested and charged in the hate-based strong-arm robbery on Monday morning, outside of the 7-Eleven store located at 11445 Amherst Avenue in Wheaton, Maryland. The victims in that attack were two transgender women.

Officials say that the robbery, which occurred around 2:38 a.m. Monday morning, the two suspects began a verbal confrontation with the women using disparaging, sexual-orientation based epithets. One of the victims, a 36-year-old, began recording the incident on her phone. That caused one of the suspects to throw a cup of noodles on the victims. Then, both suspects grabbed for the cell phone and began punching and kicking the victims. They pushed one of the women into the store’s front-glass window, causing it to crack. Both victims received minor injuries from the attack, for which they received medical treatment.

The suspects took the cell phone from the victim and ran in the direction of Blueridge Avenue. After broadcasting descriptions of the suspects, police say they were able to locate them in the 1200 block of Georgia Avenue. According to officials, after they were positively identified as the wanted suspects, Carlos Hernandez-Sanez, 18, and Edras Vasquez, 20, were taken into custody and charged.

Police report that Hernandez-Sanez was charged with robbery, second-degree assault, malicious destruction of property, as well as a hate crime charge. He is being held on a $65,000 bond. Vasques was charged with robbery, two counts of second-degree assault, malicious destruction of property, and two counts of harassment of a person based on race, religion or sexual orientation. He is being held on a $125,000 bond.