Baltimore Police are investigating the murder death of a transgender woman found Wednesday — the second transgender homicide to rattle the city since June.
Authorities have identified the victim as 26-year-old Mia Henderson, and according to Baltimore’s WJZ, she was the sibling of Los Angeles Clippers player Reggie Bullock.
Bullock expressed grief on Twitter late Wednesday, referring to Henderson as his brother with her legal name:
Police found Henderson in an alley near the 3400 block of Piedmont Ave. just before 6 a.m. Wednesday on the city’s west side with signs of “severe trauma” to her body, authorities told BuzzFeed. They have not indicated whether the homicide is being investigated as a hate crime.
Henderson’s murder death is the second transgender homicide in the city since June. Kandy Hall, 40, was found murdered between a post office and a school on the city’s northeast side in the early hours of June 3.
At the time, police said they had few details on Hall’s death, but at a press conference Wednesday, Baltimore Police Commissioner Anthony Batts said he is pushing investigators to resolve the cases.
“We want to be strong partners with the transgender community,” Batts said. “Not by talk, but by actions as a whole. We need to solve this case, we need to solve the cases that are open.”
LGBT advocates in the state, such as Keith Thirion who serves as director of advocacy and programs at Equality Maryland, were encouraged by the Baltimore Police’s swift action responding to latest homicide.
“Within hours, Commission Batts held a press conference and said solving these crimes is a priority,” Thirion told BuzzFeed. “They’re looking to the community to come forward with any information they may have.”
Thirion noted, though, that police and the community still don’t know why Henderson and Hall were targeted, or whether the cases are connected in some way, and said that transgender women — particularly transgender women of color — often face harassment and violence.
“Transphobia is still alive in Baltimore and Maryland,” Thirion said. “As far as we’ve come in the policy arena, passing the Fairness for All Marylander’s Act, there is still more work to be done to ensure that transgender people can live fully and safely.”
Advocates say the community is coming together and figuring out how to respond to the violence in the coming days.