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Trans woman found dead inside empty apartment building believed to have been shot to death by sex worker client

Emma Powys Maurice January 3, 2020

The apartment building is currently under investigation (NBC Washington)

Police are investigating after a trans woman was shot dead in a vacant apartment building in Washington DC on December 29.

The body was found in the building on December 30 after an alleged exchange of gunfire between the woman, an unidentified suspect and a private security guard. The security guard is believed to have fired the fatal shot.

It was initially thought that the woman had fled the building, but the security company reported her body the following day, along with a handgun found nearby. Sources say she had been shot in the chest and suffered significant bleeding.

“DC Fire and Emergency Medical Services responded to the scene and determined the victim displayed no signs of life,” district police chief Peter Newsham said in a press conference.

“The decedent was carrying an identification card indicating she was an adult male. However, we have received information through our investigation that the decedent identified as a transgender female.”

Police are withholding the woman’s name and other identifying information, such as her age or where she lived, until her next of kin has been notified of her death.

Transgender rights advocate Earline Budd told the Washington Blade that the incident marks the fifth death of a transgender woman in DC in December, the four other deaths being due to natural causes or a suspected drug overdose.

Police speaking at a press conference following the woman’s death (NBC Washington)

She added that sex workers are believed to engage with clients at the vacant building where the woman’s body was found, and thinks there is a “good possibility” that the trans woman was not the person who exchanged gunfire with the security guard.

Budd suspects that the woman was shot and killed by someone else in the building, possibly a client seeking to engage in sex for money.

However, when police were asked if they believe the transgender woman found dead was the person shot the previous day by one of the security guards, Newsham replied: “That is what we believe at this time through the investigation, yes.

“We haven’t determined that conclusively but the facts and circumstances and the evidence we’ve recovered suggests that that’s the case… That’s the theory we are working with right now, yes.”

Anyone with information is asked to contact MPD at 202-727-9099.

More: sex work, trans violence, Washington DC

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