As LGBT activists continue to rail against what they say is a nationwide "crisis of violence" against transgender individuals, the bodies of three more killed transgender women have been discovered this past week.
The deaths of Tamara Dominguez, who was killed Saturday; Kandis Capri, who was killed in an attack Aug. 11; and Elisha Walker, who had not been seen since October 2014, but whose body was discovered Thursday, bring the nationwide toll of transgender homicide victims found in 2015 to 17. Fifteen of those victims were transgender individuals of color.
In a statement to BuzzFeed News, Chai Jindasurat, co-director of community organizing and public advocacy at the New York City Anti-Violence Project, said the three killings were "terrible tragedies."
"This crisis of violence is killing transgender people, particularly transgender
women of color, at alarming rates in 2015," Jindasurat said.
Dominguez was hit by a car and run over around 3 a.m. local time on Saturday morning in a church parking lot in Kansas City, Missouri, police told local station KCTV. Authorities said she was run over at least three times and her death is being investigated as a possible hate crime. A police spokesperson was not immediately available for comment on Tuesday.
"[The killer] doesn't know she has family," Dominguez's friend Juan Rendon told KCTV. "She had her mom. She had her nephews, brothers, and sisters that person didn't think about what he did."
Justin Shaw, executive director at the Kansas City Anti-Violence Project, said he was devastated by Dominguez's death. "Our hearts are heavy with grief that another member of our community was taken too soon," Shaw said in a statement.
A GoFundMe has been establish to help the Dominguez family return her body to Mexico and pay for her funeral.
Capri, 35, was shot outside of an apartment in Phoenix around 11 p.m. local time on Aug. 11, police told BuzzFeed News. Capri's mother, Andria Gaines, told the The Guardian that police said her child was shot three to four times.
Police said Capri was taken to a hospital where she died from her injuries.
"The motive for the shooting at this point is unclear, however the victim's vehicle was towed from the complex just a few minutes prior to the shooting call," a police statement read. "Witnesses reported seeing a black male leaving the area on foot."
Gaines said her child's transgender identity makes her wonder if Capri was killed as part of a hate crime.
“He identified as transgender,” Gaines told the newspaper. “Initially I was against it, but eventually I determined that was my child and I still loved him and I accepted him as he was.”
Walker, 20, was reported missing in November from Salisbury, North Carolina. Local gang member Angel Dejesus Arias, 23, was identified as a person of interest in Walker's disappearance after her burned-out car was found, Rowan County Sheriff's officials told BuzzFeed News in a statement.
In July, authorities began using a cadaver-detecting dog in the search for Walker's remains. But it wasn't until last Thursday, during the search of a residence near Smithfield, that officials discovered Walker's body in a shallow "crude grave" in woods behind the house.
Arias has since been charged with murder and felony larceny of a motor vehicle.
"[We mourn] the death of Elisha Walker, a young woman whose life was
tragically cut short," said Rev. J Zirbel of Rainbow Community Cares in a statement. "We honor her life and are dedicated to work for preventing violence against transwomen of color."
Violence against transgender people rose 13% in 2014, according to a report by the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs (NCAVP).
The same report noted a 32% overall drop in hate-motivated violence against all LGBT people — a drop attributed mostly to the decline in reports made to NCAVP partners in New York and Los Angeles. "This decrease should not be an indication that anti-LGBTQ hate violence is declining," the report read.
"The murder of transwomen, particularly transwomen of color, is a real epidemic
facing our nation," said Shaw. "We demand immediate attention on both local and national levels to end this violence.”
This post has been updated to clarify the findings of the June NCAVP report.
David Mack is a reporter and weekend editor for BuzzFeed News in New York.
Contact David Mack at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Got a confidential tip? Submit it here.