A transgender woman survived a brutal attack by a gang of men who stabbed her 16 times and slit her throat as she sat on a park bench.
Daniela Hernandez, 42, is in stable condition at a local hospital as police search for multiple suspects in what they suspect to be a hate crime.
Hernandez was sitting on a park bench in MacArthur Park at around about 9.30 pm on Sunday (October 4) when she was surrounded by a group of four to five men.
They told her “something to the effect of, ‘We don’t want gays in the park,'” officials said.
The group shouted homophobic slurs as they attacked her, and a woman accompanying the men was the one to cut Hernandez’s throat.
“We don’t know exactly why, but we know it was simply because she’s trans,” said Bamby Salcedo, president and chief executive of the TransLatin@ Coalition.
“She came to this country running away from the violence she was experiencing in El Salvador, only to come to the United States to almost get killed,” he told the LA Times.
The group described Hernandez as “an integral and valued volunteer” who worked with the charity providing daily meals to the LGBT+ community.
“She led with love and passion, to ensure that community was taken care of,” they said in a news release.
The attack has highlighted the shocking violence faced by the Los Angeles transgender community, and a day later dozens of allies returned to the park to attend a #Justice4Daniela demonstration.
“I’m extraordinarily grateful for our trans leaders who have the courage to rally community and speak up … to stop the violence,” said James Wen of the Los Angeles Transgender Advisory Council.
“We as a society must do better, and we can only do that when we come together and bring together alliances that are able to listen to each other and work [on] resolutions.”