Stephen Ellison

Transgender Student Assaulted at De Anza College; Police Investigating as a Hate Crime

A transgender student at a South Bay community college was the victim of an assault late last month that is being investigated as a hate crime, according to police.

The student, Deejea Smith, was attacked on Jan. 24 in the vicinity of the Flint Garage on the campus of De Anza College in Cupertino, police said. The suspect yelled an anti-gay slur at the student and punched the victim in the face before fleeing, they said.

"I was unconscious," Smith said. " don't know for how long, I just know that I was."

The attacker is described as a white male in his late 30s or early 40s, about 5 feet, 10 inches tall, about 200 pounds, with silver hair, police said. Police released a sketch of the suspect with the hope the public could help identify him.

Asked if he had ever seen the attacker before, Smith said once.

"Earlier that day, he had parked his car next to my car, and I had recognized him from there," Smith said. "Outside of that, never before on campus."

Smith said he was also punched five days earlier in the same garage, but didn't see who did it.

"Physically, my wounds have pretty much healed to the extent I hoped they would for the time frame," he said, "but emotionally and mentally, it's been a struggle."

Smith said he wants the college to do more to protect its students, and he would like to feel safe again.

The college released a statement Monday night:

"We are saddened and angered that such an incident could occur on our campus, which is deeply committed to inclusion. We have provided on- and off-campus resources to assist the student and are planning a series of events on countering hatred."

De Anza police are also increasing foot and car patrols on campus in response to the attack.

Anyone with information should contact the college district police at 650-949-7313.

Contact Us