A transgender disabled man in Michigan said he was injured Saturday after a group of people drove by and shot him multiple times with a pellet gun.
Andrew Blake-Newton, 30, was on the sidewalk in his wheelchair heading to a gas station late Saturday night when the alleged attack occurred, WDIV-TV reported. According to Blake-Newton, a small sedan pulled up next to him shortly after midnight, and two people inside the van shot bullets at him five times with a pellet gun.
After striking him with the bullets, the group allegedly mocked him, yelled anti-transgender slurs at him and drove away laughing, according to NBC News.
“There’s just no way to understand what goes on in somebody’s head to do that,” Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard told WDIV-TV, later describing the attack as “cowardly” and “despicable.”
“It’s just hard to imagine the lack of humanity in the individual or individuals involved in this,” Bouchard continued.
No suspects have been arrested. The Oakland County Sheriff’s Office did not respond to HuffPost’s request for additional comment and updates regarding the incident.
Blake-Newton was treated at the hospital after the incident and has since been recovering. He sustained several minor injuries on multiple parts of his body, including his legs.
“It was so bad that I was leaking. Puddles of fluid were around my legs at the hospital,” Blake-Newton told WDIV-TV. “Since this happened, I can’t get comfortable. I have barely been able to sleep due to the pain.”
Transgender people are four times more likely than cisgender people to experience violence such as rape, sexual assault, and aggravated or simple assault, studies show. Disabled people are also disproportionately impacted by violent crimes and victimization.
“This was just a pellet gun,” Blake-Newton added. “But I have seen trans people of color on social media being gunned down.”
A review of fatal violence cases between 2017 and 2021 found that the risk of anti-transgender violence is shaped by factors such as race, gender and class. The number of transgender people who have been murdered in the U.S. nearly doubled between 2017 and 2021, and three-quarters of known victims were Black transgender women.