A transgender woman from Houston, Texas, recently fought off a man who slit her throat during their first date after meeting him on a dating app.
The altercation happened a couple days after meeting on an app and texting in late September when Tayla Smith, a 22-year old transgender woman, invited Kordel Stewart, 24, to her home.
According to Smith, Stewart arrived around 5 p.m. with a backpack, which she said she searched, but only found clothes inside. However, during their date in which they watched a movie and ate dinner together, Smith told local news station ABC 13, the two began kissing before Stewart allegedly pinned her hands under his knees, pulled out a knife and slit her throat.
“I guess it was in his shorts, and he just slit my throat at the same time as he covered my mouth,” Smith said.
A study published in 2021 by the Williams Institute at the University of California Los Angeles School of Law found that members of the transgender community were over four times more likely to experience violent victimization—defined as aggravated or simple assault, rape or sexual assault—than their cisgender counterparts.
After the slashing, tensions only increased when Smith had a violent brawl with Stewart, saying that he beat her up as they battled over the knife.
“At this point, I’m like, ‘Oh my gosh, Tayla! If you don’t fight back, you’re going to die. He’s going to get this knife out of your hands, and he’s going to stab you to death,'” Smith recalled.
Stewart was arrested hours later and charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. He remains in the Harris County Jail on a $125,000 bond. Meanwhile, Smith received stitches in her neck and hand where she grabbed the knife during the fight.
Newsweek has reached out to Houston Police Department via email for comment.
Smith, who told ABC 13 that she has been on dating apps before but has never met up with anyone in person, also said she told Stewart she was transgender before the two met.
“I would never not tell a person,” Smith said. “That was something discussed way before we even started having a conversation.”
Although Smith said she doesn’t believe she was attacked because she was transgender since Stewart was aware before the attack, she is still left confused over his possible motives.
Speaking with the local news station, she described Stewart as a “gentleman” before their date and said she did not see any red flags.
This is not the first time Stewart has been at the center of violence as court records in Galveston, Texas, show he was charged with murder in 2020, accused of shooting and killing a man during a sale of shoes. However, the case was dismissed in April 2023 as ABC 13 reported that an eyewitness, a surviving victim of the shooting, refused to cooperate.
He is also a talented photographer and was shortlisted for the world’s top photography award the Prix Pictet in 2019 for his work on the theme of ‘hope’.
McDonnell was wearing a red puffy Northface vest, black Northface backpack, black and white sneakers, and dark colored khaki pants when he disappeared.
The New York Police Department appealed for people who may have found his belongings to get in touch.
‘You are not in trouble if you picked up his belongings, we just want to locate ASAP for clues to his disappearance,’ they said.