FBI looking into arson case involving transgender woman's truck - WSMV Channel 4

FBI looking into arson case involving transgender woman's truck

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Someone set fire to the woman's truck. (WSMV) Someone set fire to the woman's truck. (WSMV)
COOKEVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

Authorities are still looking for someone who set fire to a transgender woman’s truck in Cookeville and spray painted the word “Trump” on the tailgate.

The victim, who goes by “Elle,” was at home with her 3-year-old son last week when someone set fire to truck which was parked just feet away from her front door. The truck also had three gay rights bumper stickers on the back window.

“It’s fairly obvious to me that Elle was targeted because she is a trans person,” said transgender advocate Robin Ridley. “She’s concerned for her safety and particularly for her 3-year-old son. This very nearly could have been a murder case.”

Ridley said Elle has already moved away from Cookeville fearing she will be targeted again.

A spokesperson for Putnam County Sheriff Eddie Farris told Channel 4 they’re investigating the crime as arson but are not considering it a hate crime. Sheriff Farris did not reply to our messages seeking comment on the case.

“She was seen as a trans person or she was seen as a lesbian, and either case you have a queer person who’s being attacked for being who they are,” Ridley added. “That’s the definition of a hate crime in my mind.”

According to Ridley, the FBI has already contacted and interviewed Elle. Federal laws allow the FBI to investigate a crime as a hate crime even if the local law enforcement agency chooses not to classify it that way.

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