A transgender Indiana woman who was shot in the face by an alleged hate group member on Sunday is still unable to speak as the result of a broken jaw, and claims in written notes that the shooter attacked her because she is transgender.
According to police, 55-year-old Crystal Cash was attacked by 26-year-old Gerald Duane Lewis (below) as the two met at Cash’s small business, a “massage parlor” she advertises on Backpage.com.
Cash allegedly told police she met Lewis earlier that day on the street in a “completely random” encounter.
Crystal’s brother, Johnny Dickens, told WFIE a different story — that his sister runs a cosmetics business, and allowed Lewis to use the restroom when he came in Friday afternoon.
According to Dickens, Lewis used the restroom and then immediately “rushed up to Crystal with a gan,” shooting her in the face while yelling a homophobic slur.
“I just want to set the record straight and tell the world that my sister has come a long way from where she’s come,” he said, referring to claims that his sister had been offering sexual services online.
“She has made something of herself. She’s a professional business owner and she is not some sort of a prostitute that’s luring people into her office.”
Police don’t consider the assault a hate crime despite Lewis’ active membership in Israel United in Christ, a church identified as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
Lewis is currently being held on $5 million bond on charges of attempted murder, robbery and carrying a handgun without a permit.
It’s unclear when Cash will regain the ability to talk.