Judge classifies transgender woman shooting in Detroit as ethnic intimidation

A woman targeted for being transgender in an attack that ended with her being shot is now telling her story in court. 

Kimora Steuball says she was standing in line to buy cigarettes at a gas station on 7 Mile just after 8 p.m. July 23 when Deonton Rogers started harassing her.

She says he called her the n word and she explained that she's transgender. It is alleged he then pulled out a gun.

"He was like, 'well I'll kill you,' you'll kill who?" she testified. "I'm transgender. I know what transgenders go through. We go through this everyday. Getting attacked, guns pulled out on us, shot at, shot at, robbed. I didn't know anything. I didn't know what was going to happen to me. I was terrified for my life."

Man suspected in shooting transgender woman arraigned

It was then that Steuball says, fearing for her life, she tried to grab the gun. The gun discharged and she was shot in her left shoulder. Rogers was already a felon so he wasn't allowed to legally carry a gun, but his attorney says he didn't mean to fire it.

"My client never intentionally fired a weapon and in fact he was leaving the building," he said.

The prosecutor says his intent was clear and this case is much bigger than that.

"This was a hate crime - this man attacked another individual because she was transgender," said assistant prosecutor Jaimie Powell-Horowitz.

But technically in Michigan - a crime against a transgender or gay person - still isn't considered a hate crime.

"There are no protections unfortunately for people in the LGBTQ community," said Judge Willam McConico.

But the judge agreed with the prosecutor that because of the gender issue, this case is ethnic intimidation -- it's a potentially a big win for the LGBTQ community.

Roberts has been charged with firearm discharge - serious impairment/injury, felonious assault, felony firearm, felon in possession of a firearm, child abuse -4th degree and ethnic intimidation based upon gender.

The defendant was bound over on all counts.