Police Warn Potential Pattern in DC Trans Shootings
Following a trans woman being shot at by an unidentified suspect in Washington D.C. on Sunday, July 31, just one block from where a transgender woman was shot to death less than two weeks ago, D.C. police have said they are investigating the crimes “as a potential emerging pattern.”
“The victim was in the 6200 block of Dix Street, N.E., when a suspect approached on foot,” a police statement says in describing the shooting on Sunday. “The suspect asked for change and without waiting for a reply pulled a semi-automatic handgun and shot at the victim, without hitting the victim.”
The statement describes the suspect as a black male, 17 to 19 years of age, about 5 feet 6 inches tall and weighing about 180 pounds, with a dark complexion. It says detectives from the Sixth District are investigating the case.
The latest incident follows the July 20 shooting death of transgender woman Lashai Mclean, 23, who was attacked on the 6100 block of Dix Street, N.E. at about 4:30 a.m.
Arrests have yet to be made in the murder of Lashai Mclean but police are said to be looking for two black males in their late teens to early 20s, with the first suspect being described as 6-feet-tall, thin built and with a lighter complexion. The shooter is described as being shorter and darker in complexion than the other suspect.
According to the Washington Post, Police in the Sixth District are working with the MPD’s Gay and Lesbian Liaison Unit (GLLU), as well as Transgender Health Empowerment (THE) and the Prince George’s County Police Department, to increase patrol efforts in the area.
The Northeast neighborhood is a known area for sex work, but is also said to be a general meeting place for trans people.
It should be noted that neither crime has yet been classified as a hate crime, and the police have not said that there is a definite link between the two shootings. However, police have warned trans citizens not go out alone in the area after dark.
“I’m very disturbed to learn that a second transgender victim in as many weeks has been targeted with gun violence on a stretch of Dix Street” Mayor Vincent C. Gray (D) is quoted as saying. “In the wake of the first incident, I expressed concern about the possibility of it being a hate crime. This second incident increases that concern.”
Bias motivated crimes based on sexual orientation or gender identity have seen a sharp increase over the past few years, going from 35 in 2009 to 45 in 2010, according to the Metropolitan Police Department’s 2010 report on bias-related crimes.
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