NCAVP mourns the death of Deshawnda Sanchez, a transgender woman of color killed in Los Angeles

December 9, 2014

NCAVP mourns the death of Deshawnda Sanchez, a transgender woman of color killed in Los Angeles; the eleventh homicide of a transgender woman of color that NCAVP has responded to this year 

The National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs (NCAVP) has learned of the homicide of Deshawnda Sanchez, a transgender woman of color in the Compton neighborhood of Los Angeles. According to local media reports, Deshawnda was shot and killed on Wednesday, December 3rd at approximately 4 a.m. while pounding on the front door of a home seeking help. The occupant of the home came outside after hearing gunshots, but at that time it was too late. Police believe robbery was a motive, but have not ruled out that the homicide may have been hate motivated. 
 
“At least eleven lives of transgender women of color have been cut tragically short this year, and these are only the eleven that we at NCAVP know about definitively, there certainly may be more” said Osman Ahmed, NCAVP’s Research and Education Coordinator at the New York City Anti-Violence Project.  “This is an outrage, nothing short of a wakeup call - we need immediate action on a national level to address the alarming violence against transgender women.”
 
The National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs’ (NCAVP) most recent report released on May 29th, 2014, Hate Violence Against Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and HIV-Affected Communities in the United States in 2013, documented 18 anti-LGBTQ homicides last year.  Of those homicide victims, almost 90% were people of color.  Almost three-quarters (72%) of homicide victims were transgender women, and more than two-thirds (67%) were transgender women of color.
 
With this latest homicide, NCAVP has responded to the deaths of ten transgender women of color in 2014:
 

  • June 3rd :  the body of Kandy Hall was discovered in a field in northeast Baltimore in what local police believe to be a homicide.
  • June 12th: Zoraida Reyes’s body was discovered behind a Dairy Queen in Anaheim, California. According to prosecutors, Randy Lee Parkerson met transgender immigrant rights activist Zoraida Reyes, choked her to death and kept her body in the trunk of his car before dumping the corpse behind a Dairy Queen. 
  • June 19th: the body of Yaz’min Shancez was found behind a Budget Truck Rental on Powell Street in Fort Myers, Florida.  According to local media reports, local police believe her death to be a homicide, and her body had been burned.
  • June 26thTiff Edwards was found shot to death in the middle of the road in Walnut Hills, Ohio, a suburb of Cincinnati. 
  • July 16th: Mia Henderson was discovered in an alley in Baltimore, Maryland while police were serving a search warrant in the area.  According to police, she appears to have died from trauma to the body, indicating homicide.
  • August 15thAn unidentified gender non-conforming person was the victim of a homicide in Detroit, Michigan.  Detroit Police have arrested Eduardo Moss, who they believe was the victim's partner, in connection to this homicide.  Local authorities also believe this homicide is connected to two other attacks against transgender women in Michigan in August.
  • September 7thAlejandra Leos, a transgender woman of color, was shot outside her home following a domestic dispute that originated within the home.  Marshall Pegues, age 21, has been arrested and charged with first-degree murder in connection with her death.
  • October 2nd: Aniya Parker was fatally shot in the head in Los Angeles, California in what the police categorized as a botched robbery.
  • October 26thAshley (Tajshon) Sherman was discovered at the Tudor Park condominiums in the East Indianapolis section of Indianapolis, Indiana with bleeding around the head, indicating trauma to the head.  Police have ruled the death a homicide and are unsure if Sherman was killed where her body was discovered or if the body was moved afterwards.
  • November 12thGizzy Fowler was discovered next to an open car door in a driveway of an empty home. 

 
NCAVP has been working with local member organization the Los Angeles LGBT Center to support the local communities affected by this violence. 
 
“We are once again reminded by the horrific homicide of Deshawnda Sanchez that members of our transgender community, particularly trans women of color, are being targeted at alarming rates,” said Los Angeles LGBT Center Chief of Staff Darrel Cummings. “The homicide of Ms. Sanchez is a stark reminder of the very real threats and systemic injustice members of marginalized communities face every day in this country. We must stand together to put a stop to this hatred and violence. Every member of our community matters.”
  
NCAVP is a resource for anyone who experiences violence.  For more information, or to locate an anti-violence program in your area, please contact us at info@ncavp.org or visit us online.  Join NCAVP in our efforts to prevent and respond to LGBTQ and HIV-affected violence.  To learn more about our national advocacy and receive technical assistance or support, contact us at info@ncavp.org.
 
If you are a member of the media, please contact: 
Sue Yacka, New York City Anti-Violence Project: syacka@avp.org or 212-714-1184
Gil Diaz, Los Angeles LGBTQ Center:  gdiaz@lalgbtcenter.org or 323-993-7604