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Brooklyn man indicted on charge of attempted murder as a hate crime, first since Hate Crimes Unit created

Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson, joined by community

Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson, joined by community leaders including Public Advocate Letitia James, outlined the pervasive issue of hate crimes in Brooklyn at a press conference on Oct. 28, 2014. Photo Credit: ALISON FOX

A Brooklyn man was indicted Tuesday for allegedly shooting at a group of three transgender women in Bushwick after making anti-gay comments, marking the first time Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson has indicted someone for attempted murder as a hate crime since he set up his Hate Crimes Unit in September.

Matthew Smith, 20, was charged in a 13-count indictment, including three counts of second-degree attempted murder as a hate crime and assault, Thompson said.

On Sept. 27, Smith, along with two other men, allegedly started yelling a slew of hateful slurs at the group around 7 a.m., he said.

The group of transgender women then ran around the corner, but Smith followed, firing his gun at them six times and striking one of them in the backside, Thompson said.

"What they said were vile, homophobic, anti-gay comments that have no place in Brooklyn. It's not just taunting; these are ugly acts of bigotry right here in Brooklyn," Thompson said.

Smith's attorney declined to comment. His next court appearance is scheduled for Thursday.

The attack is one more in a pattern of similar incidents in the area, Thompson said. A transgender woman sustained a traumatic brain injury on Oct. 12 after four men beat her, and threw a slab of Plexiglas at her head, Thompson said.

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