NOTE: We will be identifying the victim of the attack using the pronouns they/them. There are conflicting reports as to how the victim identifies. Should this become more clear we will update the story.
Jacksonville, Florida police have arrested a man for an assault on an LGBTQ individual that was captured on surveillance video reportedly too horrific to release. The victim, who was originally identified by News4Jax as a transgender woman but a relative now tells them identifies as a gay man, was beaten and dragged behind a minivan by their lower extremities for several blocks through Jacksonville’s Moncrief neighborhood. The relative told News4Jax that the victim remains in a coma with microscopic brain injuries and severe lacerations to the head. The motive behind the brutal attack is unclear.
NBC News spoke with an LGBTQ activist, Paige Mahogany Parks, head of the Jacksonville-based Transgender Awareness Project, who said she had visited the neighborhood and was told by several people the victim is transgender.
The latest news report from News4Jax:
NBC News reports: “Eric Shaun Bridges, 34, has been charged with attempted murder and is being held on $500,003 bail. Police found the victim, whose identity has not been made public, lying on the street Friday morning … according to a statement from the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office.”
The Florida Times Union reports: ‘Investigators found the minivan over the weekend and learned it had been reported stolen prior to the incident. Homicide detectives spoke to people in the area, tracked leads and analyzed evidence in and around the crime scene as well as in the vehicle, and tracked down Bridges midday Sunday, the Sheriff’s Office said. Bridges has eight prior arrests in Jacksonville, mostly for grand theft, according to jail records. The Sheriff’s Office did not indicate a possible motive in Friday’s attack.”
Assistant Chief Brien Kee told the Florida Times Union that the attack was captured by a surveillance camera but “the video was so graphic we can’t release it. It’s horrendous.”
NBC News adds: ‘Bridges is the second person in Jacksonville charged this week in connection with a violent attack on a victim thought to be transgender. Sean Bernard Phoenix, 21, was charged with second-degree murder last Tuesday in the February 2018 shooting death of Celine Walker, a transgender woman. Four transgender women were killed in Jacksonville last year alone, almost 20 percent of the 22 reported killings of trans women across the United States in 2018, according to the Human Rights Campaign.’