The Houston Police Department has released surveillance video of a person of interest in the murder of 22-year-old Iris Santos, a transgender woman.
Santos was sitting at a picnic table at a Chick-fil-A in Southwest Houston, across from her apartment complex, around 9:30 p.m. on April 23, when an unknown person reportedly walked up and started shooting in Santos’s direction, killing her.
Houston police later released a portion of a surveillance video showing a person of interest in the shooting running into a nearby apartment complex following the shooting.
Police say they do not know if the shooting was motivated by Santos’s gender identity, or whether it was random, according to Houston-area ABC affiliate KTRK (ABC13).
“[Iris] was the 18th person in Houston killed like that,” Santos’s sister, Louvier, told KTRK. ” And, they haven’t ruled it out as a hate crime either.”
Santos is one of at least 19 transgender or gender-nonconforming people in the United States who were killed in an act of violence this year, with the current murder rate on track to exceed the 44 transgender and nonbinary people who were killed last year, which was the most violent year on record for trans people.
Santos’s mother, Maria Carreon, said the family knew something was wrong when they had not heard from Iris for days after the shooting.
Louvier Santos has set up a GoFundMe page to cover funeral expenses.
“Iris was always full of life and joy,” the page reads. “She could always make anyone laugh even if they were upset or angry. She wanted her death to be a celebration of life.”
Santos’s family — and Houston police — are asking for the community’s help in identifying her killer.
Anyone with information about the identity of the person of interest is encouraged to call the Houston Police Department’s Homicide Division at (713) 308-3600 or CrimeStoppers at (713) 222-8477 (TIPS).
These are challenging times for news organizations. And yet it’s crucial we stay active and provide vital resources and information to both our local readers and the world. So won’t you please take a moment and consider supporting Metro Weekly with a membership? For as little as $5 a month, you can help ensure Metro Weekly magazine and MetroWeekly.com remain free, viable resources as we provide the best, most diverse, culturally-resonant LGBTQ coverage in both the D.C. region and around the world. Memberships come with exclusive perks and discounts, your own personal digital delivery of each week’s magazine (and an archive), access to our Member's Lounge when it launches this fall, and exclusive members-only items like Metro Weekly Membership Mugs and Tote Bags! Check out all our membership levels here and please join us today!