Whispering Wind Spirit Bear, a non-binary Indigenous person, shot dead during robbery
Whispering Wind Bear Spirit, a non-binary Indigenous person, has been shot and killed in York, Pennsylvania.
Whispering Wind has become at least the 22nd known trans person violently killed in the US in 2021, according to HRC, though estimates by other groups are higher and all agree that any reported numbers are likely an underestimate.
According to the Advocate, Whispering Wind was shot in the torso late on Monday, 3 May, while trying to stop an attempted robbery at a home they were staying in.
They were rushed into emergency surgery but passed away in the early hours of 4 May at WellSpan York Hospital.
At least three people were involved in the attempted robbery, police said, and charges of burglary, robbery, and conspiracy to commit burglary and robbery were filed against Oscar Cook, 19, of York. The other suspects have not been named.
York City Police are currently searching for anyone with information relating to the shooting, and their death is being investigated as a homicide. The state of Pennsylvania currently has no law that addresses hate crimes based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
According to Human Right Campaign (HRC), 41-year-old Whispering Wind described themselves as “Shawnee by birth and Potawatomi by relations”, and friends described them as a “a beautiful and kind soul.
Whispering Wind’s close friend Tammy Johnston shared on Facebook: “To anyone that knew her, Whispering Wind Bear Spirit has crossed over the rainbow bridge.
“I loved her very much and will be receiving her ashes. I’ve picked out a beautiful Native American urn with a white bear spirit on it.
“I will be creating a memorial place for her at our cabin, appropriately named the bear house by Sadie. She will finally have a permanent and peaceful home with us.”
HRC director of community engagement for the transgender justice initiative Tori Cooper said in a statement: “We continue to receive reports of transgender and non-binary people who have been killed in the last few weeks.
“This violence is heartbreaking and unacceptable.
“Our hearts go out to everyone in Whispering Wind Bear Spirit’s community. Everyone must speak up in support of trans and non-binary lives and take action to help bring this violence to an end.”