Maryland police are investing the death of 23-year-old Zoe Spears, the 10th transgender woman to be killed in America this year—all of whom has been black.
DCist reports that Spears was discovered on June 13 on the sidewalk in Fairmount Heights, Md., suffering from multiple gunshot wounds. She was pronounced dead on the scene.
Her community is reeling, mourning not only her loss but that of Ashanti Carmon, another trans black woman who was murdered mere blocks away in March.
“We are actively investigating both homicides. Both women were engaged in commercial sex work,” Prince George’s County police spokeswoman Jennifer Donelan told WTOP. “Both women did know each other. They were killed in close proximity to one another.”
She added, “Despite those obvious common threads, we haven’t uncovered any information, at this point, that leads us to believe that the same person is responsible for both murders.”
On Tuesday, friends gathered at the Latin American Youth Center to celebrate Spears’ memory on what would’ve been her 24th birthday. Tamika Spellman, an advocate of decriminalizing sex work, remembers her friend as being beautiful, caring, generous and smart.
“All these sad faces in here right now—that mood would change when she comes in because she was like the life of the party,” Spellman said at the gathering. “We have so much negativity in the world. To have one of the lights taken from us, it is a real tragedy.”