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Trans woman shot to death inside an ambulance as medics fought to save her life

Josh Milton March 21, 2020
Monika Diamond, a business owner, a mother, and now the fourth trans person murdered in the US in 2020. (Facebook)

Monika Diamond, a business owner, a mother, and now the fourth trans person murdered in the US in 2020. (Facebook)

As she was rushed to the hospital to treat shortness of breath, a trans woman Wednesday was brutally shot to death after a man burst into the ambulance in Charlotte, North Carolina.

About to celebrate 10 years since she cofounded an event promotion company, Monika Diamond, 34, was shot inside the ambulance parked at a parking lot outside a restaurant and hotel, WBTV reported.

Her death has raised a spectre of violence over a community so marginalised and vulnerable in the states, marking her death, activists say, as the fourth violent death of a trans or gender non-conforming person in 2020.

Local law enforcement arrested Prentice Bess, 32, and is facing homicide charges.

What happened to the trans woman?

At around 4am, police say, paramedics and patrol cops responded to a call that Diamond, co-owner and founder of Ncphyne Promotion Company, was suffering from shortness of breath.

In the parking lot shared by Days Inn and Azteca Mexican Restuarant, tucked along E Woodlawn Road near Old Pineville Road and hazily lit by amber street light, services rushed to the scene to be greeted by a throng of people.

A medic rushed Diamond into the back of an ambulance to treat her. During which, Bess banged the back of the vehicle’s doors to be let in, but the medic refused.

He left the scene shortly after before returning and shooting the victim “several times”, an officer at the scene said, in what became a “very volatile situation.”

The medic attempted to treat Diamond, but she was pronounced dead at the scene.

Anyone with additional information is asked to call homicide detectives at 704-432-TIPS.

Soaring murders of trans women of colour is an ‘epidemic’, activists say. 

The four deaths witnessed this year follow at least 26 recorded last year by the Human Rights Campaign.

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, many trans people’s deaths may go unreported.

The full extent of the perils of this “epidemic” can not be reduced to numbers and headlines, as hostility seemingly intensifies and the rise in visibility of the trans community stirs animosity and emboldened people to attack.

“Through her work, Diamond spent her adult life creating community and spaces for LGBTQ people in Charlotte and beyond to come together and celebrate their lives,” the HRC wrote in a tribute to Diamond, the latest victim of this wave of brutality.

“She was a chosen mother to countless. She was a business owner, a loving friend and she did not deserve to have her life taken from her.”

More: Crime, murder, North Carolina, Trans

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