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Transgender woman fatally shot becomes 14th trans victim killed this year

Lydia Smith June 28, 2018

Keisha Wells, a transgender woman, was fatally shot on the same day in Cleveland (Getty)

A transgender woman has been fatally shot in Cleveland, becoming the 14th trans victim in the US in 2018.

Keisha Wells, 58, was found in the car park of an apartment building with a gunshot wound to the abdomen on Detroit Avenue on Sunday.

No arrests have been made yet and the investigation is ongoing, according to Cleveland.com.

The victim’s aunt, Regina Spicer, said Wells was known as “Pokey” to family and friends.

“Pokey liked laughing and telling funny stories about people. But when (she) loved you and cared about you, (she) loved you,” she said.

Sheila Jones, a friend of Wells, told the newspaper: “She was the nicest person ever. But she was a tough cookie. She wouldn’t back down from anyone.”

CHICAGO, IL - FEBRUARY 25: Demonstrators protest for transgender rights on February 25, 2017 in Chicago, Illinois. The demonstrators were angry with President Donald Trumps recent decision to reverse the Obama-era policy requiring public schools to allow transgender students to use the bathroom that corresponds with their gender identity. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
There have been 113 incidents of fatal violence against transgender and non-binary people since 2013 (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Wells is the 14th known transgender person to have been killed this year.

On the same day, trans woman Cathalina Christina James was killed in Jacksonville, Florida.

James is the third black trans woman to be killed in 2018.

Activist Christina Kittle told local newspaper The Jacksonville: “This isn’t something that should be considered normal. People are dying, this is very serious.”

“A lot of my friends are scared, they’re just scared to go out. I mean, I would be scared, too,” Kittle said.

According to Human Rights Watch, there have been 113 incidents of fatal violence against transgender and non-binary people since 2013. Of those killed, 64 were victims of gun violence.

Trans pride flags flutter in the wind at a gathering to celebrate International Transgender Day of Visibility, March 31, 2017 at the Edward R. Roybal Federal Building in Los Angeles, California. International Transgender Day of Visibility is dedicated to celebrating transgender people and raising awareness of discrimination faced by transgender people worldwide. / AFP PHOTO / Robyn Beck (Photo credit should read ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images)
Wells is the 14th known trans person to be killed in the US this year (Getty)

Human rights groups have warned the number of victims could be higher, as this does not include trans victims whose deaths were not reported due to misgendering in police reports, news stories or by their families.

In May, Gigi Pierce, a 28-year-old transgender woman was shot dead in public in Portland, Oregon.

Nino Fortson, 36, died after being shot multiple times following an argument in Atlanta, Georgia, during the early hours of May 23.

In the same month, Carla Patricia Flores-Pavon, 18, was choked to death in Dallas, Texas.

In April, Sasha Wall, 29, was shot dead in Chesterfield County, South Carolina.

Sasha Wall was killed earlier this year (Sasha Wall / Facebook)

Amia Tyrae Berryman, a 28-year-old from Los Angeles, was fatally shot in a motel room in March.

In February, the body of Zakaria Fry, 28, was found on a road just outside of Santa Fe, Albuquerque.

Phylicia Mitchell was shot dead in Cleveland, Ohio. The 45-year-old was found in her living room on February 23 with bullet wounds in her chest.

Celine Walker, 36, was found shot to death in a motel room in Jacksonville, Florida in February.

Earlier that month, Tonya Harvey, 35, was shot dead on Shepard Street in Buffalo, New York.

Christa Leigh Steele-Knudslien, the founder of the Miss Trans America pageant, was stabbed to death earlier this year. Her husband Mark Steele-Knudslien confessed to her murder.

In January, Viccky Gutierrez, from Honduras, was killed in Los Angeles.

In 2017, at least 26 transgender people were killed in the US and nearly all of the victims were trans women of colour.

More: Crime, Transgender, transphobia, US, US

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