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Woman is beaten outside city convenience store
Woman beaten in Fredericksburg 7-Eleven parking lot

Date published: 5/24/2011

BY KEITH EPPS

Four people beat up a Fredericksburg woman in a convenience-store parking lot Saturday afternoon, possibly because of her sexual orientation.

City police spokeswoman Natatia Bledsoe said the attack took place about 3:30 p.m. outside the 7-Eleven at 3300 Fall Hill Ave.

Laqueta Webb, 18, has been charged with malicious wounding by mob and placed in the Rappahannock Regional Jail under no bond.

Bledsoe said police are still investigating three male suspects and had identified two of them by last night.

According to Bledsoe, the 32-year-old victim reported that she was walking when the suspects surrounded her and began taunting her.

They then began hitting her with fists, feet and a broken-off metal broom handle that had been lying on the ground.

A number of people witnessed the attack and some came to her aid after the incident.

The suspects left in two vehicles, a red Saturn and a black Dodge Charger. Bledsoe said the man in the Saturn pulled up as the attack was in progress, and joined in.

Bledsoe said the victim suffered noticeable facial injuries and wounds to her hands and hands, but declined medical treatment.

She named two of her assailants, including Webb, who was arrested at her home in nearby Heritage Park.

The victim also provided the complete license-plate numbers of the two fleeing vehicles.

Bledsoe said the victim told police that the attack was spurred at least in part because she is a transgender person.

Earlier Saturday, the victim exchanged words with a teenage neighbor regarding the victim's dog getting loose.

The neighbor made comments about the victim's transgender status, the victim told police.

At least one of the suspects in the attack is related to the teenager from the earlier dispute, Bledsoe said.

The victim was taunted about her sexuality during the beating, police said.

Bledsoe said that even if police determine that the woman's sexual orientation led to the attack, it won't affect any charges because Virginia's hate-crime laws do not cover sexual orientation.

Bledsoe said the victim told police that she has lived in Bragg Hill for two years and has enjoyed it for the most part.

But she said she plans to move now because she no longer feels safe there.

Keith Epps: 540/374-5404
Email: kepps@freelancestar.com