November 20 is observed as the Transgender Day of Remembrance in recognition of the murder of Boston native, Rita Hester in 1988. Hester was a well-known advocate who worked locally on education around transgender issues.

On Saturday, Nov 28, Hester was stabbed 20 times in her apartment. She was taken to the hospital after a neighbor called police, but died from cardiac arrest shortly after admitted. Police still have not identified Hester’s killer or killers.

Advocate Gwendolyn Ann Smith coordinated the first vigil one year later, commemorating Rita and other victims of anti-trans violence.

Here SFGN remembers some of the trans women that have been killed in the U.S. this year.

For the complete Transgender Day of Remembrance memorial, visit

Papi Edwards, 20, of Louisville, KY

Fatally shot on January 9

Suspect arrested and charged with murder

Not considered a hate crime

“Papi got shot because she was a transgender female,” Tiffany, who was at the scene of the shooting and a friend of the victim, told BuzzFeed News in a phone interview in March. “That is exactly why she was killed — because of gender identity.”

Despite initial reports identifying Papi Edwards as a transgender woman, subsequent reports from police and the media continued to describe Edwards as a gay male. Tiffany said Edwards “died a woman” and had used female pronouns for several years, but not around Edwards’ mother. “Her mother wasn’t accepting of it.”

Tiffany later confirmed to Buzzfeed that Edwards did identify as a woman at the time of her death. And that it did play a factor in her murder. A point she also expressed to police during questioning.

 “It’s common for people to get mad, especially if it is in front of a group of people,” she said about the motive for attacks on transgender women. “Tell them you’re a tranny; they will get mad and retaliate in front of a group because they didn’t want people to think differently of them.”

Kentucky’s Hate Crime Preventions law does not protect gender identity.

Louisville TV station WAVE reports Henry Gleaves was arrested and charged with Edwards’s murder.

At his January 13 arraignment, Gleaves pleaded not guilty. He is being held on $500,000 bond.

Anyone with information about Edwards’s death is asked to call Louisville’s anonymous tip line at 502-574-LMPD.

We Remember

Papi Edwards
Lamia Beard
Ty Underwood
Yazmin Vash Payne
Taja Gabrielle DeJesus
Penny Proud
Kristina Gomez Reinwald
Keyshia Blige
London Chanel
Mercedes Williamson
Jasmine Collins
Ashton O’Hara
India Clarke
K.C. Haggard
Shade Schuler
Amber Monroe
Kandis Capri
Elisha Walker
Tamara Dominguez
Keisha Jenkins
Zella Ziona

Lamia Beard, 30, of Norfolk, VA

Fatally shot on January 17

No arrests

Not considered a hate crime

Kiara Parker, Lamia Beard’s sister says Beard was the musician in their family.

“When we were in high school, Lamia was in the chorus,” Parker told AlterNet. “People would pay Lamia to sing at funerals and weddings.”

She was an active band member in high school, and played the oboe, flute and piccolo. She attended Norfolk State University and majored in music education. But issues at school forced her to leave after her sophomore year. She struggled to find work thereafter.

“You could tell,” Parker said. “I’m not transgender, but you could feel it like, ‘They’re not going to call her back. People would get hired for jobs she applied for. She was highly intelligent. Lamia would sit up in the house and read the encyclopedia. She wasn’t a dumb person. But sometimes when people see you and they’re like, OK, and trying to figure out who you are. People size you up and think, ‘I don’t want that person working at my store.’ People at clothing stores and fast food places discriminate.”

Virginia’s hate crimes and anti-discrimination laws do not include gender identity and expression.

Early reports on Beard’s shooting described the scene of the crime as an area known for prostitution. The Virginian-Pilot — also reported that Beard over the last decade had been convicted of two prostitution-related charges. A disclosure which was not only offensive to her family, but which many critics saw as victim-blaming.

“The harm of the media misgendering and victim-blaming is that it sends a message to the public that these homicides are not as serious, and that somehow transgender people deserve it,” Chai Jindasurat, who coordinates programming with the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs (NCAVP), told BuzzFeed News.

Police are still investigating Beard’s murder. Anyone with information related to Beard's death is asked to call the Norfolk Crime Line at 1-888-LOCK-U-UP.

Ty Underwood, 24, of Tyler, TX

Fatally shot on January 26

Suspect arrested and charged with murder

Not considered a hate crime

Ty Underwood’s friends told KYTX she worked as a nursing assistant at a local nursing home and had been recently accepted into the nursing program at Kilgore College in Longview.

It was also Underwood’s friends who helped guide investigators to the suspect. Police discovered that Underwood had been dating Champion, a football player at Texas College. When police located Champion and interviewed him, he admitted that he had been communicating with Underwood through the mobile app Kik, reports KLTV.

“Investigators learned that Champion and Underwood were in a brief relationship prior to the murder. Electronic and video evidence was located that supported that Champion was meeting Underwood on the date and time of when the murder took place.

The incident is not considered a hate crime, according to the department.”

Champion is being held on $1,000,000 bond.

Anyone with relevant information is asked to call the Tyler Police Department at 903-531-1000 or Tyler-Smith County Crime Stoppers at 903-597-2833.

Yazmin Vash Payne, 33, of Los Angeles, CA

Fatally stabbed on January 31

Suspect arrested and charged with murder

Not considered a hate crime

A vigil was held outside the burnt out shell of Yazmin Vash Payne’s apartment to honor her life. The same apartment where she lived with her boyfriend Ezekiel Dear, who confessed to her murder. A march down Saticoy Street was held in protest over Payne’s death. Participants said they didn’t know Payne, but they still felt compelled to come, reported CBS Los Angeles.

“They’re killing us and nobody cares,” Bamby Salcedo said. “This is not an isolated incident. And it’s important that the LAPD continues to do what they’re supposed to do.”

According to the Advocate, Payne's death also marked the third reported murder of a trans woman of color in Los Angeles within a four-month period. Deshawnda Sanchez, 21, died of a gunshot wound December 3, and 47-year-old Aniya Parker was fatally shot October 2, both in suspected robberies.

If convicted, Dear faces a possible maximum sentence of 34 years to life in state prison.

The case remains under investigation by the Los Angeles Police Department, Van Nuys Division. Anyone with information about the case was urged to call investigators at 818-374-0040.

Taja Gabrielle DeJesus, 33, of San Francisco, CA

Fatally stabbed, February 1

Suspect found dead

Not considered a hate crime

Pamela DeJesus of San Jose, said her daughter Taja was active in her Bayview church and a volunteer at a food pantry. “Taja was beautiful inside and out,” she said through tears. “She was a rock for our family,” reports the San Francisco Chronicle.

“Whenever she had anything extra, she would give it away. That’s just how she was,” Pamela said. “I don’t know how anybody could do this. But I’m proud of how strong and selfless she was. That’s what brings me peace.”

The Chronicle also spoke with Nikki Calma, a project manager at Trans Thrive, a nonprofit in San Francisco.

“She was always the first to volunteer and just wanted to participate in everything,” Calma said. “She was very vocal about issues in the trans community, especially when it came to health and disparity. She was well known and will definitely be missed.”

The day after de Jesus was killed, James Hayes, 49, a suspect in her death, was found dead from an apparent suicide. According to the Bay Area Reporter, “Officer Grace Gatpandan, a police spokeswoman, declined to confirm that Hayes was the person police think killed de Jesus. However, Gatpandan said, ‘The suspect is not a threat to public safety. We have identified the suspect, and at this point there are no outstanding suspects in that particular homicide investigation.’ She said she couldn't confirm the investigation is closed, and she couldn't discuss details of the case, including what Hayes' relationship had been to de Jesus and the possible motive for her killing.”

Anyone with information is asked to contact SFPD at 415-575-4444.

Penny Proud, 21, of New Orleans, LA

Fatally shot, February 10

No arrests

Not considered a hate crime

Despite Penny Proud’s death sending ripples through the New Orleans LGBT community, little has been reported on her life, and even fewer details are available regarding her case.

New Orleans activist groups BreakOUT! rallied around Proud’s death in an effort to bring awareness to the increasing homicide rate of trans women of color, and to call upon local police and media to respect Proud’s gender identity.

New Orleans homicide detectives say at least two male suspects were involved in Proud’s death, which police believe to be a robbery, unrelated to Proud’s gender. Police say the two suspects could have been part of a larger group of males in the area prior to the shooting.

Anyone with information about Proud's murder is asked to contact Homicide Detective Robert Barrere at 504-658-5300, or contact Crimestoppers at 504-822-1111 or

Kristina Gomez Reinwald, 46, of Miami, FL

Fatally stabbed on February 15

No arrests

Not considered a hate crime

News of Kristina Reinwald’s death circulated on social media, for days while police and news outlets sorted out the details. Friends, family, and community activists launched a Facebook page and held a vigil in honor of Reinwald and the six other transgender women of color who were lost in as many weeks. The following is a statement from Reinwald’s memorial page, hosted by Gabriel Garcia-Vera.

“Too many lives have been lost. Too long have we gone without justice; without equal footing. Our South Florida transgender community, and its allies, are invited to join us this Thursday evening for a vigil. In addition to honoring Kristina Grant Infiniti's life, the vigil will also provide space to mourn the passing of other transgender people who have been lost in these ways. We will shine light on the plight of gender nonconforming people, especially transgender women of color -- many of whom, sadly, have suffered and ultimately lost their lives due to a lack of awareness, education, and equality in our community. Together we can demand justice. Together we can stand in solidarity. Together we can make a change.”

At first police ruled Reinwald’s death a suicide, then later a homicide. Friends of Reinwald’s believe she was killed by her boyfriend or ex-boyfriend.

“Her boyfriend is the one that we believe murdered her they were having issues they were having problems,” said Julio Delanuez, a longtime acquaintance of Reinwald, according to CBS Miami.

Officials noted no sign of forced entry, implying she knew her assailant, according to Miami New Times.

Anyone with information about Kristina Gomez Reinwald's death is asked to call Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at 305-471-TIPS.

Keyshia Blige, 33, of Aurora, Ill.

Fatally shot, March 7

No arrests

Not considered a hate crime

Keyshia Blige was a performer. When she sang on stage she ran the gamut from Aretha Franklin and Whitney Houston to Rihanna and Beyonce, the Chicago Tribune reports. Blige’s funeral held more than 300 attendees. Her friends from the choir sang gospel songs to honor her in a church that was standing room only.

Friends and family say Blige was a generous person, who always offered her home when someone needed a place to stay. Sometimes working two or three jobs, she still made it a point to donate money to friends competing in drag shows.

Police say Blige was driving someone in her car when the vehicle was fired upon, wounding and eventually killing Blige.

“It’s definitely not a hate crime,” Dan Ferrelli, media relations manager for the Aurora police department, said. “But we have some working theories that we are looking into,” reports the Guardian.

Anyone with information is asked to call Aurora Police investigations unit at 630-256-5500 or Aurora Area Crime Stoppers at 630-892-1000.

London Chanel, 21, of Philadelphia, PA
Fatally stabbed on May 18

Suspect arrested and charged with murder

Not considered a hate crime

Veronica Allen, London Chanel's mother, told NBC Philadelphia that although they had separated over Chanel’s transition, they had recently reconnected.

“She was going to go to court to change her name and then she was going to come home," Allen said. “That’s what we were working towards, but that man took it away from me."

GALAEI, an LGBT Latin empowerment organization in Philadelphia, sponsored the TransHealth Information Project or TIP, of which Chanel was a participant.

“[London] was a beautiful, very outgoing, funny young lady,” said Naiymah Sanchez, a TIP coordinator. “She always tried to remain positive and was focused on completing her transition.”

Sanchez told the Philadelphia Gay News that Chanel was looking for a full-time job and was just a few weeks away from finalizing her name change through Mazzoni Center’s legal-services department.

Deputy Commissioner Kevin Bethel, the department’s LGBT liaison, told PGN that Chanel and the suspect Raheam Felton, knew one another and lived in the abandoned house with two other transgender women, one of whom was Felton’s partner.

“There was some conflict, some allegation, between [London] and the offender and he stabbed her repeatedly, which resulted in her death,” Bethel said. “[This] was not an issue where the decedent was killed because she was transgender.”

Mercedes Williamson, 17, of George County, AL

Fatally stabbed, discovered on June 2

Suspect charged with first degree murder

Not considered a hate crime

"I miss how she flipped her hair. I miss the crooked teeth with that beautiful smile. ... I can smell her. I just keep wanting her to walk through that door. ... I'll never have nobody like her again. That is barely something that crosses people's lives anyway," Jeanie Miller told the Sun Herald. Miller was Williamson’s roommate, and told the Herald she loved Williamson like a daughter.

Miller’s son told police he had last seen Williamson leave in a silver car. Miller assumed Williamson was with a friend. When Miller had not heard from Williamson within a few days, she contacted the friend and was informed of Williamson’s death.

George County Sheriff Department Capt. Ben Brown told the Sun Herald "We are trying to determine whether [the killing] is drug-related, gang-related or a hate crime," he said.

Suspect Joshua Vallum, is known to be affiliated with the gang the Latin Kings. Vallum confessed to his father about Williamson’s murder after her body was found buried on Vallum’s father’s property. Police disclosed the cause of death but would not speak to motive, reports.

When asked if the case was being investigated as a hate crime, George County sheriff's Capt. Ben Brown replied, "We are investigating it as a we do any other case."

Vallum is being held on $1 million bond. If convicted of murder, Vallum could serve a life sentence with possibility of parole at age 65.

Jasmine Collins, 32, of Kansas City, MO

Fatally stabbed on June 23

Suspect charged with second degree murder

“She was just the typical girl out here,” Kris Wade told the Guardian. Wade is the executive director of the Justice Project, a Kanas City nonprofit that works to provide legal and social services and support for women. The Project works with 29 women engaged in sex work, a majority of whom are transgender or sex-trafficked into Kansas City.

It was through the group that Wade first heard that Collins may have been stabbed on June 23. Friends searched for her. Wade called the police and was told no body had been found. Ten days later after another call to the police Wade received confirmation that Collins had been killed.

A spokeswoman for the Kansas City police said Collins was not identified by name or gender in an initial homicide incident report. The department would not release the report, citing an ongoing investigation.

Court documents say Collins went to see the suspect, Tia Townsel for a haircut when the two got into an argument. A physical altercation began in the apartment and continued into the parking lot, according to witnesses. Police say Townsel then retrieved the knife from her apartment that she used to stab Collins. Townsel is being held on a $240,000 bond according to KCTV.

Ashton O’Hara, 25, of Detroit

Found dead July 14

Suspect charged with first degree murder

Ashton O’Hara’s death went unreported until the murder of Amber Monroe in August. Both O’Hara and Monroe were killed in the area of Detroit’s Palmer Park, known to be a site of sex trafficking and frequent anti-LGBT violence.

Ashton’s mother Rebecca told Mlive that police were respectful in the handling of Ashton’s homicide. "They have been so respectful ... in asking what we chose for him to be identified as, male or female," O'Hara said. "I have never heard or seen anything like it in my life. I was amazed."

But members within the community cited a mistrust of police as a deterrent to reporting incidents of violence, and discrimination and abusive behavior from police as setting the wrong tone.

"There's a lot of stereotyping still that originally comes from the police," said one resident during a community outreach meeting. "I have seen the police call over the loudspeaker, call these girls men, (racial slur) get off the street; it's the tone that you guys set ... If the dope boys can hear you screaming over the loudspeaker, calling these girls trannies, drag queens ... do you think they're not going to come out and rob them? You guys are a reflection of the way they respect."

Police Chief James Craig told Mlive that information such as gender identity and sexual preference is not usually collected from victims, but that the department does flag cases with known LGBT victims. Craig said it had not been determined if O’Hara’s murder was a hate crime.

O'Hara's suspected killer, Larry B. Gaulding, was arrested and faces a first-degree murder trial.

India Clarke, age 25 of Tampa, FL

Fatally beaten on July 21 in

Suspect charged with first degree murder

Thelma Clarke told WTSP that India’s last words before leaving the house were “Mom, I love you. Dad, I love you.”

At India Clarke’s vigil, her mother Thelma said she prayed that police would find India’s phone, so she could retrieve the last photo they’d taken together according to the Tampa Tribune.

Clarke was attending cosmetology school in Tampa. Charles Thomas, who helped organize the vigil told the Tribune that Clarke had been having difficulty finding work.

“When you have the courage to be who you are, you know, it’s hard to find jobs,’’ Thomas said. “They put stigmas on you so you find other alternatives to survive.’’

“Among the many factors will be the lifestyle and history of the victim to see if either played a role in the death,” sheriff’s office spokesman Larry McKinnon said. “Regardless of gender, we are looking at this as a human being who is dead, and we intend to investigate to find out who killed this person.”

Anyone with information should call the sheriff’s office at 813-247-8200 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-873-TIPS (8477), report anonymously online at the Crime Stoppers website, or text “CSTB” plus the tip to CRIMES (274637).

K.C. Haggard, 66 of Fresno, CA

Fatally stabbed July 23 in

No arrests

Zoyer Zyndel, a member of the Fresno group, Trans-E-Motion told the Bay Area Reporter that Casey Haggard "was planning to begin living as her authentic self. She wanted to go to meetings, to meet other people and get support for the beginning of her transition."

Haggard’s attack was captured on video by surveillance cameras from a nearby tattoo parlor. In the video an SUV approaches Haggard. She and the driver exchange words, when the suspect jabs at Haggard’s throat. She steps away from the car before falling to the sidewalk.

The suspect has been described as a Hispanic male in his mid to late 30’s, reports the Fresno Bee. He is 5 feet 9 inches tall, between 150 and 160 pounds and tattooed on both arms. He had short dark hair at the time of the attack.

Initially, police were not investigating the stabbing as a hate crime.

“There’s no evidence to indicate this was a hate crime,” Fresno police Lt. Joe Gomez told the Bee. “If he was transgender, just the fact he was murdered wouldn’t make this a hate crime, either. If a white guy shoots a black guy, that isn’t necessarily a hate crime.”

However, according to the Bay Area Reporter the FBI is working with local law enforcement officials and trying to determine whether Haggard's death was a hate crime according to the Bay Area Reporter. No arrests have been made.

Anyone with information about her murder is asked to call Fresno Police homicide detective Alfonso Castillo at 559-621-2449 or Leonard Cabrera at 559-621-2451. Anonymous tips can also be given to Crime Stoppers at 559-498-STOP.

Shade Schuler, 22, of Dallas, Texas

Fatally shot, found on July 29

No arrests

Thirty people attended Shade’s Shuler’s vigil in Reverchon Park, which also featured a seed planting ceremony, the Texas Observer reported. Her friends and family were not among them and have not spoken publically about the case. The vigil was organized by Nell Gaither, president of the Trans Pride Initiative.

Gaither also recognized the death or Arte Madden, a transwoman killed near Denton in 2013. Madden’s murder is unsolved.

Attendee Marisa Anguiano’s cousin Janette Tovar, also a trans woman, was killed in Dallas in 2012.

“They were beautiful flowers that were meant to be shared by the world, and now their seeds are watered by the tears of the loved ones they leave behind,” she said. “But maybe, just maybe, this is a time when we’re going to get to see a change, so that future generations of transgender women don’t have to suffer through the abuse and neglect from the legal system when they’re in trouble, and especially when they’re murdered,” Anguiano said.

Anguiano said that Tovar’s killer, Stuart Kenney had received a sentence of ten years’ probation, and the Observer confirmed that Tovar had been free on bond.

Reports say Schuler’s remains were found on July 29 but police were not able to identify her for two weeks.

Anyone with information about the crime is urged to call the Dallas Police Homicide Unit at 214-671-3650 or Crime Stoppers at 214-373-8477.

Amber Monroe, 20, of Detroit, MI

Fatally shot on August 8

No arrests

“I’m still in a state of shock,” Amber Monroe's friend Lakyra Dawson told Fusion. “We really have to find some better outlets. Different ways to protect girls like me. We have to start with discrimination.”

Julisa Abad, a transgender advocate in Detroit, told the Guardian Monroe had been shot twice before and was uncomfortable going to the police. Abad said Monroe’s struggles were shared by many in the trans community.

“She had to be out there; she did go to school, so I know she wanted to better herself, but unfortunately, especially being so young, she didn’t have many options, either,” Abad said. “When you call the police and try to advocate for the girls who are out there … they try to de-prioritize the situation and bring up the fact they were prostituting. Whether they were prostituting or selling jelly beans, nobody deserves to be killed.”

Bré Campbell, a transgender Detroit resident and National LGBTQ Task Force fellow told the Guardian Monroe was interested in working in HIV outreach. “She wanted to facilitate groups and talk to people about their issues they were having,” Campbell said.

Witnesses saw Monroe fired exiting a vehicle in the Palmer Park area around 5 a.m., when someone within the vehicle then shot her. Monroe was the second trans victim killed in Palmer Park in 2015, after Shade Schuler. But Schuler’s body was not identified by officials until after Monroe’s was found. Palmer Park reported the murders of four trans women in 2014.

Anyone with information about Monroe's murder should contact the Homicide section of the Detroit Police Department at 313-596-2260 or 1-800-SPEAKUP.

Kandis Capri, 35, of Phoenix, Ariz.

Fatally shot on August 11

No arrests

Five-hundred people attended the funeral for Kandis Capri at the Central Methodist Church in Phoenix, AZ central reported.

“(She) never judged anyone,” said Capri’s aunt, Sylvia Mohler, after the service at Central Methodist Church in Phoenix. “If you knew (her), that’s the way (she) was. ... More people need to be like (her).”

Capri’s mother has asked the Department of Justice to investigate Kandi’s murder as a hate crime. “They need to find out who murdered my baby,” Gaines said.

Police say Capri was shot at an apartment complex near 43rd Avenue and Thomas. Residents say they heard gunshots outside the complex around 11:30 p.m. Police released new video from a nearby convenience store in October. The video shows Capri walking with someone police are calling an investigative lead, who followed Capri into the parking lot before the shooting happened.

If you have any information call Silent Witness at 480-WITNESS.

Elisha Walker, 20, of Salisbury, N.C.

Reported missing by her family Nov 2014

Her body was found August 13

Suspect charged with murder

Elisha Walker’s family reported her missing in November when she stopped calling and texting. They saw she’d also stopped posting on social media. Police gave media outlets the missing person details but had few leads until they discovered Walker’s car, the Salisbury Post reports.

Walker’s 2000 Pontiac Sunfire was found abandoned and burnt out in a field in Sampson County on Nov. 22 2014. The car eventually led police to suspect and known Latin Kings gang member Angel Arias. Arias was being held on a separate case when police were led to the address where Walker’s remains were found. Arias had lived in a house in Salisbury that Walker was known to visit. Walker’s remains were found near Arias’ new Johnston county address, 100 miles way according to the Guardian.

Arias was charged with murder and felony vehicle theft. He was jailed in Johnston County without bond as he awaited transport to Rowan County, according to the Advocate. Police did not cite a motive in the killing but have revealed the cause of death as blunt force trauma.

Friends and family continue to share memories, and post messages of love and support to Walker’s Facebook page.

Tamara Dominguez, 36, of Kansas City, MO.
Vehicular Homicide on August 15

No arrests

LGBT community members and advocates had gathered to remember Tamara Dominguez.

Celia Ruiz read the words “todo por que soy bonita.” – “all because I’m beautiful” in honor of Tamara Dominguez, KCTV5 reported. Ruiz, a family advocate said it was one of Dominguez’s favorite phrases.

"They needed this. They really, really needed this," Ruiz said. "It opens up those wounds again but it does so in a way that says, 'this is that person, this is who she was."

"She was happy with who she was and it didn't matter what her family told her," Dominguez partner of six years told The Huffington Post. Dominguez’s partner and close friends were concerned that Tamara’s family in Mexico would be burying her as a male.

Juan Rendon, a family friend gave KCTV a statement on behalf of Dominguez’s brother Alberto.

“He just want to say to the person that did that to her, that he (Alberto) would forgive them for what he did to her," we are not here to judge nobody, and he (Alberto) hopes that person really feels bad for what he did."

Police are still searching for the driver of the SUV, a black Chevy Avalanche, which killed Dominguez on Aug. 15. Anyone with information about the case is asked to call the KCPD's TIPS hotline at 816-474-TIPS (8477).

Keisha Jenkins, 22, of Philadelphia, PA

Fatally shot October 7

One suspect arrested and charged with murder, three more suspects sought

Not considered a hate crime

More than 50 friends and family gathered in Hunting Park to mourn Keisha Jenkins, reported.

"If you stood and talked to her for five minutes, you'd walk away with a smile on your face," said Nafis Henderson, Jenkins’ partner of five years.

Deja Alvarez of the Trans-Health Information Project, or TIP, met with police and investigators the day after Jenkins’ murder, The Daily Beast reported. Alvarez said it demonstrated a shift in the handling of anti trans crime by Philadelphia police. “The police are really trying to do the right thing,” Alvarez said

Homicide Captain James Clark told The Daily Beast that he does not suspect Jenkins' gender identity was a motive for the killing, but rather that robbers targeted Jenkins because they thought she would be carrying a large amount of money.

Pedro Redding was arrested and charged with Jenkin murders. Police connected Redding to the case as part of a group of robbers that had been targeting women in the area.

"The suspect gave a full statement to detectives that himself and three of his friends attempted to rob Kiesha and, during this robbery, one of the males pulled out a gun shooting and killing her," Philadelphia Police Captain James Clark told ABC6.

Redding had been arrested for robbing a trans woman before but the chargers were dropped when the victim did not appear in court. Pennsylvania’s hate crime hate crime law does not cover sexual orientation or gender identity. However, Philadelphia passed a policy last November that allows law enforcement to impose stricter penalties for violent attacks based on gender identity, sexual orientation, or disability status, according to the Advocate.

If you have any information on the shooting, call Philadelphia Police at 215-686-3334 or the department's anonymous tip line at 215-686-TIPS.

Zella Ziona, 21, of Montgomery Village, MD

Fatally shot on October 15

Suspect charged with first degree murder

Police say Zella Ziona was on her way to lay flowers on her grandmother’s grave the day Ziona was killed, according to WSUA9.

"She just wanted to embrace her life. She wanted to show the world how to be transgender," Black said. "She helped people,” Jasmine Black told NBC Washington. Black was a friend of Ziona’s. Police arrested Rico LeBlond in connection with Ziona's shooting death and charged him with first-degree murder Friday. Reports state that LeBlond became embarrassed and agitated after Ziona began “acting flamboyantly” toward him in front of his peers. LeBlond has a previous record that including theft and murder charges.

"We are not ruling out the possibility that this could be hate-based," Montgomery County (Md.) Police spokesman Capt. Paul Starks told NBC Washington.

Anyone with information is asked to call police at 240-773-5070. A reward of as much as $10,000 is offered. Tips also can be submitted by calling 1-866-411-TIPS.

The information in this article was compiled from news outlets including the Advocate, the Guardian, BuzzFeed and various local news outlets. For a complete list of sources and updates as they develop visit SFGN’s Storify page:


There are three major events taking place throughout South Florida on Friday, Nov. 20.

Broward County

Where: Pride Center, Main Hall, Schubert Building, 20140 N Dixie Highway, Wilton Manors

When: 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.

What: There will be an evening of commemoration/call to action for those who were killed due to bias and hatred based on gender identity.

Miami-Dade County

Where: Barry University, Andreas School of Business, 11300 NE 2ND Ave, Miami Shores

When: 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.

What: This event is planned by local trans community members (youth and adults), in partnership with Barry University. This year’s venue is a bigger and cooler location on campus, so all trans folks and all community members standing in solidarity with the trans community are welcome.

Palm Beach County

Where: Compass, 201 N Dixie Hwy, Lake Worth

When: 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.  

What: There will be a candlelight vigil followed by an Open Mic, Music, Poetry, Performances, featuring live performance by the Palm Beach Opera, #LGBTQ youth and the PB Gender Society. $5 Suggested Donation. Doors open at 6:15 p.m. Show starts at 6:30 p.m.