Metro Weekly

Chicago high school student charged with fatally shooting transgender woman

Orlando Perez told police that he returned to Selena Reyes-Hernandez's apartment a second time to shoot her lifeless body

chicago, shooting, high school, transgender, trans

Crime scene tape – Photo: Fer Gregory

An 18-year-old Chicago high school student has been charged with murder for allegedly shooting a woman after discovering she was transgender.

Orlando Perez, 18, reportedly confessed to police detectives that he had gone home with 37-year-old Selena Reyes-Hernandez to her apartment in the Marquette Park neighborhood around 5:30 a.m. on May 31, according to prosecutors.

Perez allegedly told detectives during a videotaped statement that, once inside the apartment, he asked Reyes-Hernandez if she was a girl. When she said she was transgender, he told her he had to leave.

Prosecutors say footage from surveillance cameras shows Perez leaving Reyes-Hernandez’s apartment about 20 minutes after entering. But they say that same footage also shows Perez returning around 6 a.m. with a dark face covering. The video allegedly shows Perez taking out a handgun and racking the slide as he approaches Reyes-Hernandez’s home.

Perez reportedly told detectives that he found the door to Reyes-Hernandez’s apartment open, walked into her apartment and shot her twice, once in the head and once in the back. He left, but later returned to the apartment to shoot her lifeless body several more times as she was lying facedown on the floor, reports the Chicago Sun-Times

“[H]e kept seeing her face, so he went back there to do it again,” Assistant State’s Attorney James Murphy said during Perez’s bond hearing.

A witness who reported hearing loud noises later discovered Reyes-Hernandez’s body later that morning.

See also: Ohio transgender woman Riah Milton shot to death during alleged robbery

Police recovered seven 9 mm casings with a Luger ammo stamp and two unfired bullets from the crime scene. Police also found Reyes-Hernandez’s phone, which contained a video clip showing Reyes-Hernandez on the front-facing camera, followed by a shot of Perez in a bathroom washing his hands when the view was switched to the rear camera, according to Chicago Tribune.

Police obtained a search warrant for Perez’s home, and recovered a 9 mm handgun containing bullets with ammo head stamps identical to the casings found at the scene before taking Perez into custody.

Once in custody, Perez also admitted to moving Reyes-Hernandez’s car after the murder, fearing that “police would be tracking the car.”

In his court appearance on Tuesday, Perez lowered his face mask, smiled several times, and tried to give a statement, but was warned not to speak by his assistant public defender.

Perez’s attorney asked for reasonable bond, claiming Perez was a senior at Bogan High School who was on track to graduate.

The attorney also argued that he had no other criminal record and had previously demonstrated his ability to remain steadily employed during the summer months by working at a factory that makes jelly. But Judge Arthur Wesley Willis was unconvinced, and ordered Perez held without bail as he awaits trial.

Perez is next scheduled to appear in Cook County Circuit Court on July 6.

Read more:

No charges will be filed against Colorado State Patrol trooper who shot transgender woman in May

Economic fallout from COVID-19 has “hit trans community especially hard”

HUD crafting rule to allow single-sex homeless shelters to turn away transgender people

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John Riley is the local news reporter for Metro Weekly. He can be reached at jriley@metroweekly.com

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