New York police have arrested a black transgender woman who allegedly attacked random strangers in a spree of hate crimes over the weekend, the New York Post reported.
Thomas J. Heard, 37, who identifies as a woman, was taken into custody Saturday evening outside her Bronx apartment. Police believe Heard attacked 11 victims across New York City on Friday and Saturday before they caught up with her.
The victims, who were all white, told police that the suspect had yelled anti-white remarks at them during the assaults.
Police charged Heard on multiple counts, including assault as a hate crime, menacing as a hate crime, harassment as a hate crime, and criminal possession of a weapon, Fox News reported.
What are the details?
The crime spree started just before noon Friday, according to authorities.
The suspect allegedly sprayed a chemical substance, believed to be pepper spray, on a 29-year-old man inside a train station in upper Manhattan. Following that incident, police said that Heard ran outside and sprayed four women and a man.
Then at about 1 p.m. Heard allegedly ran inside another train station and sprayed a 30-year-old woman in the face.
A short time later, Denise Gannaway, was walking in the Bronx with her boyfriend, Joe Barbuto, when she was allegedly kicked in the leg by the suspect.
"All of the sudden, I hear this woman yell at me from behind, 'I hate you, you expletive expletive!'," Gannaway, 56, told WABC-TV. "I saw her pull something out of her pocket. I didn't know if it was a gun, I didn't know if it was a knife — I didn't know what she had."
A woman in a blue coat can be seen kicking Gannaway in surveillance video obtained by WABC. Barbuto, 55, told the news outlet that the suspect sprayed him in the face with a substance. As Barbuto and Gannaway tried to walk away, the suspect chased after them and sprayed Barbuto a second time.
In another incident on Saturday, Heard allegedly yelled, "Are you white?" to a 23-year-old woman before she kicked her and threatened her with a sharp object, police said, according to the Post. The suspect then reportedly sprayed the victim's boyfriend with a chemical substance.
About an hour later, authorities arrested Heard. Police recovered pepper spray and a pair of scissors from her possession.
What did Heard's neighbors say?
Heard's neighbors told the Post that they weren't surprised by the news of Heard's arrest.
"She hated white people," one man told the newspaper, adding that he didn't believe Heard was racist but that she has been in a downward spiral over the last year. "She would stand on that corner and scream it."
Another neighbor described similar behavior.
"She'll just talk to herself, ranting, 'White people are privileged and you have to bow down to them,'" the neighbor said "She would come by, like, 'These motherf***ers think you owe them something.'"
Heard has 65 prior arrests including prostitution, grand larceny, fraud, and assaulting a police officer, according to authorities, the Post reported.
The suspect is expected to face more charges for the attacks in Manhattan following a Monday morning arraignment in the Bronx.