A beloved Episcopal priest and several transgender youth were attacked Monday in a possible hate crime outside of a shelter for LGBT youth in Queens.
A priest who runs a shelter specializing in outreach to homeless transgender youths was beaten with construction equipment and paint cans by a group of teenagers in a possible hate crime, authorities said Tuesday.
Two 17-year-olds and a 16-year-old were awaiting arraignment Tuesday on charges of assault and criminal possession of a weapon, Queens prosecutors said. A 15-year-old was being charged as a juvenile in the Monday attack outside the Carmen’s Place shelter, prosecutors said.
The four boys gathered in front of Carmen’s Place around 10 p.m. and started harassing and taunting the residents with homophobic slurs and insults, people at the shelter said. The director, the Rev. Louis Braxton Jr., tried to intervene but was attacked with paint cans, a woodworking tool and other objects found along the street, they said.
Braxton, 52, was treated at a hospital for cuts and bruises. A shelter resident also was injured in the attack, which occurred on one of the main thoroughfares in the Astoria neighborhood.
Braxton spoke about the attack on Tuesday. “Unfortunately, violent attacks against transgender youth is not unusual,” he said. “What made this incident so disturbing is that it occurred on a congested and busy New York City street.”
The incident was being investigated by the police Hate Crimes Task Force, and charges could be upgraded if it’s found a hate crime took place.
Carmen’s Place is a struggling small shelter for transgender and gay youth in Astoria, Queens and works to find employment for their residents other than prostitution. Visit their website and consider making a donation. They have a list of items that they need.