Police are investigating the shooting death of a trans woman who was murdered and left in a field.
A body found off Riverside Drive in Dallas on July 29 has been identified as 22-year-old Shade Schuler. At the time the body was found, it was badly decomposing in a vacant field, but even after identifying her, police reports identified her as a black male. Riverside Drive is between I-35E and Record Crossing Road in the Brookhollow neighborhood north of the Medical District.
On Aug. 5, police posted several identifying tattoos on the body. That led to the identification of Schuler — who preferred to be called Ms. Shade — by Dallas Police on Aug. 10.
When she was contacted about the murder on Aug. 11, Trans Pride Initiative President Nell Gaither began trying to confirm Ms. Shade was a trans woman.
Gaither planned a vigil at the Legacy of Love monument on Cedar Springs Road and created a Facebook event page. That helped her confirm Ms. Shade’s gender identity.
Chazz Quigley, a cousin of the victim, responded to the event and acted as a go-between for the family.
“We don’t know how Shade gendered themself fully,” Quigley wrote at first. A few hours later, he confirmed her gender identity.
“I spoke with a couple friends of Shade and they say she indeed identified as a trans woman,” he wrote.
Because the family was grieving and not all were aware of her gender identity, Quigley asked Gaither not to hold the proposed vigil, and so she cancelled it.
However, Gaither has continued to maintain a fundraising page to help with funeral expenses. The goal is to raise $5,000. Of that, $300 was donated within the first day.
News of the murder of another trans woman of color spread around the country quickly. Some activists were calling the murder a lynching.
“Heart BREAKING News: 22 year old black trans woman #MsShade found lynched in Dallas TX,” wrote Ohio activist Cherno Biko.
Major Max Geron, who heads the DPD Violent Crime Section, tweeted, “Claim of ‘lynching’ is false. Sadly though this victim died as a result of gunshot wounds.”
Ms. Shade is the 13th transgender person killed in the U.S. this year. That surpasses last year’s total of 12. She’s the second trans woman killed in Texas this year.
The first was Ty Underwood, who was shot in Tyler in January. She was found in her car after she hit a light pole. Police believe she got into her car to escape her attacker.
Carlton Ray Champion, Jr. was charged with Underwood’s murder about two weeks later. They had been in a brief relationship.
Anyone with information on Ms. Shade’s murder is asked to contact Detective Cheney with Dallas Police Homicide at 214-671-3650. Crime Stoppers is offering up to $5,000 for information leading to an arrest and conviction in this case.
To help fund funeral expenses, visit Razoo.com/story/Shadesfund.