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Trans woman found dead in her apartment may be 22nd known to be killed in the US so far this year

Josh Milton November 5, 2019
Alicia Simmons was found dead in her west Philadelphia apartment on November 3. (Facebook)

Alicia Simmons was found dead in her west Philadelphia apartment on November 3. (Facebook)

The Philadelphia Police Department has confirmed to PinkNews they are investigating the death of Alicia Simmons, a trans woman.

Simmons, from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, was found dead in her apartment on Sunday night.

With her social media full of smiley selfies and videos of her bopping in the back of cars to music, her death has caused shockwaves in the Philadelphia trans community.

According to trans activist Ashlee Preston there were no signs of “foul play”, she wrote on Facebook.

Nevertheless, trans activists remain weary around the cause of her death which, if proved to be malicious, would make Simmons the 22nd trans person killed in the US this year alone.

What do we know so far?

Local community leaders and investigators are scrambling to piece together what happened to Simmons.

Officers stated she was found in an apartment in the 4900 block of Walnut Street, in the northwestern Walnut Hill neighbourhood. A diverse patch of the city packed with coffeeshops and young professionals.

Preston added that Simmons was found “unresponsive in her bed with no signs of forced entry into her apartment” at 8:47pm.

Alicia Summers was found dead in an apartment on the 4900 block of Walnut Street in Walnut Hill. (PinkNews)
Alicia Simmons was found dead in an apartment on the 4900 block of Walnut Street in Walnut Hill. (PinkNews)

Details of her death remain unclear, but the Southwest Detective Division confirmed they will release details as the investigation progresses.

“We will provide an update when one becomes available,” a police department spokesperson told PinkNews.

Local LGBT+ groups ‘working very closely’ with law enforcement. 

Furthermore, the Philly LGBT Police Liaison Committee said it is awaiting results from the medical examiner.

The organisation explained in a Facebook statement that members will be “working very closely” with law enforcement to “thoroughly, respectfully, responsibly and compassionately get those answers for Alicia and her family both born and chosen as well as our community”.

Moreover, journalist Ernest Owens stressed in a Facebook post that Simmons was not “shot”.

Though, he clarified that this “doesn’t rule out a murder, but it doesn’t automatically fit a lot of the recent narratives surrounding murdered black trans women this year”.

His statement came as social media heaved with theories of her alleged murder, such as one member of a local LGBT+ group alleged that Simmons died of a “fatal assault”.

As details of her death steadily roll out, multiple trans community leaders and organisations have expressed their shock and sadness at Simmons’ death:

Trans hate crime is on the rise in the US.

Around 21 trans people have even killed in 2019, 20 of whom were trans women of colour.

Their names are Dana MartinJazzaline WareAshanti CarmonClaire LegatoMuhlaysia BookerMichelle WashingtonParis CameronChynal LindseyChanel ScurlockZoe SpearsBrooklyn LindseyDenali Berries StuckeyKiki Fantroy and Pebbles LaDime Doe. Tracy SingleBailey ReevesBee Love Slater, Elisha Stanley Itali Marlowe and Brianna Hill.

The LGBT+ community has also this year mourned Jordan Cofer, a white trans man who was killed in a mass shooting.

However, these numbers understate the problem, activists warn.

Local officials are not required to report killings to central databases in the US, and as authorities may misgender it means many trans people’s deaths may go unreported.

This is a developing story. 

More: alicia simmons, death, Philadelphia, trans woman of colour

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