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Zoe Spears, 23, was found fatally shot on Thursday, making her the second Black transgender woman killed in that Maryland neighborhood in three months, and at least the 10th murdered in the U.S. so far this year, BuzzFeed News reports.
Spears was found by police responding to a 911 call on Thursday night in the Washington, D.C., suburb of Fairmount Heights, Maryland. She had been shot several times, including once in the head, and was left in the street. She was found only three blocks from where another Black trans woman, Ashanti Carmon, was found dead in late March, also with multiple gunshot wounds.
Major Brian Reilly with Prince George’s County Police Department confirmed in a press conference on Friday that Spears and Carmon knew each other. Asked if he thought they might have been targeted for being transgender women, Reilly was unsure, but acknowledged that “it’s unusual that we had two murders like this within a couple blocks of each other.”
“There is no direct link that we see at this point, but that is obviously something we’re monitoring very closely,” Reilly said.
At least 10 trans women have been violently killed in the U.S. in 2019 so far. In the updated handbook for the American Medical Association, the rise in hate crimes is referred to as an “epidemic of violence” against transgender people, especially Black trans women.
The resolution states that in 2018 there were “226 deaths of transgender people in the US due to fatal violence, 82% of whom were transgender women of color and 73% of whom were Black transgender women.” The amendments also noted that the FBI had reported a significant rise in hate crimes for the past three years in a row. The resolution additionally states that the numbers may actually be higher, but anti-trans violence is often underreported.
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H/T BuzzFeed News
Alex Dalbey is a writer and zinester currently living in Saint Paul, Minnesota. They have written for The Daily Dot, Kill Screen, The Lingerie Addict, and Bullet Points.