Burlington Police are searching for suspects in the beating of a transgender man who was found unconscious near a homeless encampment on Sunday.
According to a release from Burlington Police Detective Lieutenant Shawn Burke, police responded to a homeless encampment near the barge canal in the city’s south end.
“Officers discovered a 38 year old transgender male victim lying on the ground, the victim of apparent head trauma,” the release said. “The victim was transported to UVMMC [UVM Medical Center] where it was learned that he sustained facial fractures, a subdural hematoma, and several broken ribs.”
A subdural hematoma is bleeding around the brain inside the skull.
Police said the initial prognosis was good and the victim was expected to wake up shortly after being hospitalized.
“More recent consultation with physicians at UVMMC reveal that the victim remains unconscious, unable to speak, with the prospect of recovery now uncertain,” Burke’s release said.
Police said that “due to the victim’s transgender status,” detectives are treating it as a “possible bias incident.”
Police are asking for the public’s help investigating the crime. Anyone with information is “asked to call city police or Champlain Valley Crime Stoppers at (802)-864-6666.”
In 2014, a man was found dead in a south end homeless encampment, which led authorities to break up the small group and send people to get help from social service agencies, as Seven Days reported at the time.
Burke said police know the identity of the hospitalized victim in the recent attack and detectives are following “substantive leads” on the case.