A Dallas transgender woman who was the subject of a video showing her being beaten by a mob of people last month has been fatally shot.
Police responded to a report of a shooting in the 7200 block of Valley Glen Drive, near the Tenison Park Golf Course in East Dallas, at around 6:40 a.m. Sunday. There, they found 27-year-old Muhlaysia Booker dead from a gunshot wound. There are currently no suspects at this time.
Police also say there is no evidence of any connection between Booker’s death and the assault on her last month, though they say they are continuing to investigate and trying to identify several of the people shown beating her on video, according to the local Dallas-Fort Worth CBS affiliate.
Booker is the fifth transgender person in the United States to have been killed so far this year. Last year, 26 transgender people, mostly women of color, were violently killed, according to the Human Rights Campaign.
Leading up to last month’s attack, Booker had reportedly been in a car accident and gotten into an altercation with the driver of the other car, who demanded she pay for the damage. Tempers flared, and at some point, a group of people began beating and kicking Booker, who eventually lost consciousness during the attack.
Police arrested 29-year-old Edward Thomas in the attack, and later claimed he had been offered $200 by the driver of the car to beat up Booker.
Booker later spoke at a rally calling on the police department to pursue her attackers and warned other LGBTQ people that they could be at risk.
During a Sunday press conference, Dallas police talked about the significant amount of violence that seems to be plaguing the city, with 23 murders already reported for the month of May, 18 of which have been solved. Assistant Police Chief Avery Moore said the police department takes murder seriously and will do everything it can to close unsolved cases and bring suspects to justice.
Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings, who condemned the attack against Booker last month, responded to reports of her death on Twitter, saying: “I am deeply saddened to learn of the murder of Muhlaysia Booker. I call on anyone with information on this homicide to please contact the Dallas Police Department.”
Anyone with information on the shooting is encourage to send it via the department’s anonymous tip line by calling 214-671-4847 or texting “DPD” plus the information to 274637.
Kayla Gore, the Southern regional organizer for TLC@SONG, a national collaboration between Transgender Law Center and Southerners on New Ground, said in a statement she was “angry, heartbroken, and exhausted” to hear of Booker’s murder.
“Muhlaysia suffered the double violence of a brutal assault and of having video of that assault shared online. Millions of people watched and spread the violence committed against this young Black trans woman, and now she is dead,” Gore said. “I have spent much of my adult life in hospitals or at vigils for my sisters and sometimes not even allowed to grieve our loss due to the lack of family acceptance. Muhlaysia is at least the third Black trans woman to die this past week, after Claire Legato in Ohio and Michelle Simone in Pennsylvania, and one of a long list of anti-trans violence survivors.”
Gore also said Booker’s murder underscored the importance of supporting transgender women of color as they attempt to make change and advocate for themselves.
“Violence against Black trans women is a crisis, and has been for a long time — and nothing seems to change,” Gore said. “Last week, Transgender Law Center and Southerners on New Ground released the Grapevine Report showing just how widely violence pervades our lives in the South. 58% of transgender women and femmes surveyed reported experiencing high levels of violence by strangers.
“Through all this violence, the report also showed, we survive by relying on each other. In a society that can consume a brutal assault against a Black trans woman to the point of making it go viral, we can only trust in ourselves for solutions and support,” she added. “Do not turn away from this violence. Do not simply acknowledge and share. Invest in our community. Believe in and directly support the leadership of Black trans women.”
Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story said that Booker was the fourth transgender person killed in the United States this year. The recently reported death of Michelle Simone in Philadelphia this past weekend makes Booker the fifth trans person to be killed.