Detroit police are looking for the man who shot a transgender woman at a Mobil gas station on Monday night. According to surveillance footage, an argument that started in the gas station parking lot spilled over inside the station, where it escalated when the man drew a gun on the woman.
As ClickonDetroit.com reports, it’s unclear whether the woman’s identity was a factor in the argument, or in the ensuing scuffle. As the man draws his weapon on the 29-year-old woman, she attempts to strip it from him. Video from inside the story captured the brief struggle.
The woman survived the shooting and was taken to the hospital immediately afterward. She’s expected to be okay, writes the media outlet. The man fled the scene in his SUV after the shooting and is still at large.
Detroit Police Chief James Craig told ClickonDetroit.com that it’s “too early to tell” if the man attempted to shoot the woman because she is trans, though he says police are investigating the possibility.
“Certainly, this community wants to know: Is it a hate crime? What is it?” Craig said. The police chief also attended an LGBT community chat and candlelight vigil Tuesday night.
One resident, Cierra Burks, told Local 4 that trans women are targeted in the area.
“I’m glad she fought back. I’m glad she’s still here,” she said.
Thus far in 2018, at least 15 transgender people have been murdered, according to the Human Rights Commission—all but one listed are women.
Not only are trans women far more likely to suffer violence, but black trans women are particularly vulnerable. In 2017, Essence wrote, of at least 27 trans people killed, the majority were black women.
Last year, director of external relations at the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE), Raffi Freedman-Gurspan, told the Daily Beast, “In poorer black and brown communities, poverty, violence, hunger, a lack of education and resources exacerbate [violence and anti-trans rhetoric].”
“When people are faced with the rhetoric that is out there and looking for scapegoats, unfortunately, it is women in particular who are punching bags,” she said. “It has got to stop.”
If you have any information on this incident, please contact the Detroit Police Department’s 12th Precinct at 313-596-1240, or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-SPEAK-UP.