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Suspect In Custody Following Attack On Transgender Woman On Subway

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – A suspect is in custody following an assault on a transgender woman Friday night.

The man wanted in the assault was apprehended in New Jersey, police said. He's being questioned by detectives. The female in in the assault is still at large.

A transgender woman told police she was standing on the C train platform around 8 p.m. Friday at the West 155th Street and Saint Nicholas Avenue station in Washington Heights. She claimed a couple yelled anti-sexual orientation slurs, then slapped and spit on her.

MORE: NYPD Crime Stats: Overall Crime Hit All-Time Low In 2019, But Anti-Semitic Attacks Finished Up 26%

The victim, identified as Serena Daniari, posted a video on social media, tearing up and asking to be left alone after the attack.

"She called me after it happened, and she was very upset and clearly very traumatized," her brother, Milad Daniari, told CBS2.

"It's terrible," one man said.

"It can't be tolerated in any way," said Eileen Dwyre, who works in Washington Heights.

"It's a shame, seeing as though the trangender community is one that has repeatedly been attacked," said Elijah Thomas.

MTA Chief Talks On Efforts To Combat Hate Crimes In Public Transportation System

The MTA is now hoping to prevent another incident like this, joining forces with community advocates to help combat hate crimes.

"It's a huge, huge issue, the violence issue against transgender people," Dwyre said. "I'm glad they're taking it as seriously as they are, and that the governor has somehow stepped in."

"Anything the MTA can do to add more protection would be great," one man said.

It's unclear what will be done, but the Metropolitan Transportation Authority said, following the attack, it is launching a new campaign to combat hate crimes.

"It's something that needs to be a responsibility not just of the MTA but everybody to actually care for them," said Thomas.

Both Mayor Bill de Blasio and Gov. Andrew Cuomo took to Twitter to apologize to Daniari, with Cuomo directing the New York State Police Hate Crimes Task Force to investigate.

Meanwhile, Daniari also posted a statement, saying in part "Thank you everyone for the outpouring of kind and supportive words. I'm overwhelmed and so, so grateful."

Anyone with information about the attack is asked to call the NYPD's Crime Stoppers hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477) or 1-888-57-PISTA (74782) for Spanish. You can also submit a tip via the Crime Stoppers website, by tweeting @NYPDTips or by texting 274637.

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