Around 2:30 Monday morning, Oklahoma City police responded to a disturbance at a local motel. Upon arriving, they found the body of Brooklyn BreYanna Stevenson, a 31-year-old black transgender woman. She had been murdered.
As Oklahoma City’s KFOR-TV reports, police are still unsure what the killer or killers’ motives might have been and have made no arrests. According to Pink News U.K., Stevenson is at least the 27th trans person to be killed in the U.S. in 2017 (that number is likely low when taking into account victims who are misgendered by law enforcement).
While police say it’s still too early to determine whether Stevenson’s death is a hate crime, Oklahoma City’s trans community is on edge following the news of the killing.
Troy Stevenson, executive director of Oklahoma-based LGBT advocacy group Freedom Oklahoma, told KFOR that the murder was a “deep concern.”
“We’ve got a member of the transgender community that’s been murdered like this and it happens quite often, unfortunately,” he said.
And trans women of color are disproportionately victimized.
The National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs has been tracking the deaths of transgender people in the U.S. According to Splinter News, in 2015 the organization found that out of 16 reported homicides of trans people, 13 were women of color.
Stevenson’s family told KFOR that they are “heartbroken.”
“Brooklyn BreYanna was an amazing daughter, sister and friend with a giving and loving heart,” said the family, who have started a GoFundMe account so that they can bury their loved one. “We pray that those who committed this heinous crime will be identified and Brooklyn will receive justice.”
Oklahoma City police are asking anyone with information about Stevenson’s death to call their homicide tip line at 405-297-1200.
Read more at KFOR-TV.