Trans hair stylist repeatedly stabbed to death by sick man who claimed God ‘sent’ him kill her
Transgender hair stylist Helle Jae O’Regan, in San Antonio, Texas, has been stabbed to death at work.
O’Regan, 20, is the 11th transgender person to be murdered in the US so far in 2020, after a shocking spate of killings.
According to the San Antonio Current, O’Regan – who worked at the city’s Diesel Barbershop – was inside the locked store with two other employees on May 6 to prepare for its re-opening when the incident took place.
According to the barbershop’s owner Shayne Brown, a man had knocked on the locked door and asked to make an appointment, and was admitted to speak with the staff members.
However, soon after, he returned with a gun and a knife, threatening the employees and forcing them to the back of the store.
Man stabbed transgender woman to death after saying ‘God sent me here to kill you’.
Surveillance video shows the man choking O’Regan and stabbing her repeatedly, as well as stabbing one of the other employees in the back several times. O’Regan was killed, but the other two employees managed to escape.
It is not believed that O’Regan was targeted because of her gender identity, with the crime described as a “random act of violence” by Brown.
In a Facebook post, the barbershop boss said: “Attempts were made to give the man whatever he wanted… cash, equipment, or whatever it took to get him out of the shop. The man made it clear that he wasn’t there for money.”
According to Brown, the man had repeatedly told the employees: “What have you done wrong? What have you done wrong? God sent me here to kill you because you have done something wrong! What have you done wrong?”
Damion Campbell, 42, has been arrested and charged with murder over the incident, San Antonio Police Department said.
Tributes have been paid to O’Regan, a proud transgender woman who had shared many posts online advocating for LGBT+ equality.
On Trans Day of Visibility, she posted on Instagram: “I was looking at the pictures I used to take before I transitioned versus now and it made me realise I’m way happier than I used to be. I love myself now. Thank you to everyone who’s ever supported me and to anyone who hasn’t I hope you come around. I’m happy and proud to be myself.”
Friends and campaigners pay tribute to ‘caring’ stylist Helle Jae O’Regan.
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A friend, Luke Tyler, told local media: “Every time I saw her, she smiled. She’d do anything for you. She was a caring person. I never saw her in a bad mood… Being trans is so hard, and her life was hard, but she lived like it was the best day of her life every day.”
Robert Salcido of San Antonio’s Pride Center said: “We are disheartened to hear of a loss of a community member, especially a transgender woman, who are all too often faced with severe and deadly violence.”
Emmett Schelling of the Transgender Education Network of Texas added: “We are saddened to hear of the news about Helle O’Regan’s death. Texas, unfortunately, lays claim to being the state with the highest number of reported murders of transgender people these past five years.
“We mourn for Helle’s life being cut so prematurely, but take comfort in hearing how much joy she brought to those who knew, loved and accepted her fully as her authentic self.”
Tori Cooper, of the HRC Transgender Justice Initiative, said: “For the past several weeks, we have learned of the violent deaths of transgender Americans at a rate that should be a shock and horror to every single person.
“We must all ask ourselves today: ‘What am I doing to ensure a world where a person’s gender identity is not a potential death sentence?’
“The Human Rights Campaign is standing with Helle’s family and friends in mourning today. Her death further underscores the dire and urgent need to end violence and discrimination against transgender people – and especially against transgender women – now.”
A crowdfunding campaign has been launched to pay for the funeral expenses for O’Regan and medical expenses for the two survivors.