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Two men are charged in the brutal attack of a transgender woman at a Minneapolis light-rail station that left her hospitalized with critical injuries in what police consider a possible bias-motivated assault.

Kevin York Jr., 23, of St. Paul and Keaton Morris, 19, of Minneapolis were each charged Tuesday in Hennepin County District Court with aggravated robbery and third-degree assault in connection with the attack a day earlier.

According to charges, Metro Transit officers responded to the Lake Street light-rail station around 9:45 a.m. Monday, after a 911 caller advised dispatch that the victim was lying on the floor of the lower-level north tower with "visible brain matter" on the ground. Surveillance cameras at the station captured images of three men beating her and pushing her down the stairs.

Paramedics arrived to find the woman largely unresponsive, badly bruised and bleeding from serious head trauma. They rushed her to HCMC in critical condition, where a CT scan revealed a fractured rib, collapsed lung and an internal brain bleed. Doctors managed to stabilize her later that day, but her current condition is unknown.

Authorities tracked two of the three suspects, who fled in a southbound train to the VA Medical Center Station and jumped a fence at the sight of police. York was caught carrying a woman's clutch purse with the victim's ID inside, court records show.

He later told officers that the woman was " 'slashing at people' with what he thought was a box cutter." Metro Transit confirmed to the Star Tribune that "an item" was thrown at the suspects before the assault but declined to say what kind.

At the time of his arrest, Morris had three outstanding bench warrants for failing to appear in court on previous misdemeanor charges. He was placed on Metro Transit's trespass list for using narcotics inside the Lake Street light-rail station — and received a criminal citation for trespassing at the U.S. Bank station on Sunday, one day before the attack.

York is on probation in Ramsey County for a 2021 third-degree assault conviction. That case stemmed from a domestic incident in which he broke his ex-girlfriend's arm and fled with their 7-month-old daughter.

During their separate court hearings Wednesday, the men appeared behind plexiglass in orange jumpsuits at the Hennepin County jail. Public Defender Chelsea Knutson advocated for leniency when considering the bail amount since both men struggle with homelessness and don't have the financial means to make a large bond. York completed a substance-abuse treatment program in January, Knutson said, but relapsed last month.

Judge Peter Cahill noted that the case involved a "pretty horrendous beating," classifying each defendant as a public safety threat. He set bail at $200,000 — or $25,000 with conditions for Morris, which include electronic home monitoring, no contact with York or the victim, and a requirement he stay away from all transit stations.

Cahill set York's bail at $200,000 or $30,000 with similar conditions. York mouthed something to his mother in the gallery before being escorted out.

In an interview, Tiwane York explained that her son developed an addiction to fentanyl after a medical procedure several years ago and now bounces between various homeless encampments, often sleeping at transit platforms. York insisted that her son, who is gay, is unlikely to commit a hate crime.

"I am praying to God my son is not one of the people who put their hands on that person," she said. "I don't want him in jail, but if staying in jail gets him the help he needs … then it's worth it."

The brazen daytime attack prompted outrage from LGBTQ rights groups and elected officials, who were quick to condemn the violence and what they see as increasingly hostile political rhetoric targeting the trans community.

"Trans women have become a central focus of the right-wing culture war, with many states moving to ban trans health care, to reduce the visibility of trans and queer people in public life, and even to outlaw being transgender altogether," said Democratic U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar. "We must recognize that the legislative attacks on trans people are part of the same violence that led to nearly 90 trans people being killed in the United States over the last two years."

OutFront Minnesota issued a statement on social media saying they are "deeply saddened" by the incident and encouraged those who need support to call their helpline at 612-822-0127.

"While we're not aware of motive at this time, we know LGBTQ+ people, particularly trans women of color, face disproportionate rates of violence & discrimination," OutFront wrote.

Amid an uptick in reported crimes on Metro Transit buses and trains last year, the agency hired private security officers in a pilot program to patrol higher-volume stations, including the Blue Line's Franklin Avenue and Lake Street/Midtown stations in Minneapolis.

However, no security personnel were present at the Lake Street station Monday morning. Officers are stationed at those sites "as staffing allows," said Metro Transit spokesman Drew Kerr. In response to the incident, the department issued a statement saying they are committed to improving conditions at the Lake Street station.

"Police will continue to proactively patrol and remotely monitor this location, and we are advancing plans to expand our official presence on transit by bringing security officers to this station and other boarding areas later this year," Kerr said.