Police say a grand jury could upgrade the charges against a man being held in a possible bias attack, and a community held a vigil Tuesday to mourn the transgender woman killed. NY1's Michael Herzenberg filed the following report.
Delores Nettles, the mother of Islan Nettles, thanked hundreds of people Tuesday for paying tribute to her daughter.
"I appreciate what everybody has done and came out and showed so much love for my baby, 'cause that night, when my baby got murdered, nobody showed my baby that love," Delores Nettles said. "But they're showing it now."
Delores Nettles took her child off life support last Thursday.
Police say the 21-year-old was out with another transgender woman in Harlem on August 17, and when boys they met found out Nettles was not born a woman, investigators say a fight broke out in front of a police station.
Authorities say gay slurs were spoken, and they Nettles was beaten until she was brain dead.
Her friends grieved together on Tuesday night. remembering a happy woman working as a model, ambitious to succeed in fashion.
"Very, very friendly and humble and quiet," said one.
"She was true to herself. She never lied about who she was," said another.
They joined family members, acquaintances and strangers in Jackie Robinson Park Tuesday night for a vigil.
The transgender community and gay rights advocates voiced safety concerns.
"We are not allowed to walk up and down the streets and be who we are, and be treated like human beings," said Nicole Bowles, who attended the vigil.
Others are just angry.
"It's really tragic, 'cause I grew up in this area," said Dayna Devenport, who attended the vigil. "I've walked these streets daily."
The message, that it has to stop, was echoed by Nettles' mother.
"She's in a better place where there ain't no hate, don't matter about your sexuality," Delores Nettles said. "And it's alright 'cause she living better then we is. God bless you baby, and save me a seat, 'cause I love you and I'll see you soon."
The 20-year-old arrested in this case, Paris Wilson, faces an assault charge. A grand jury could increase the charges against him.