A transgender woman named Mesha Caldwell was found dead Wednesday afternoon in Madison County, Mississippi. Coroner Alex Breeland confirmed the death was a homicide but will not release a cause pending autopsy. Madison County spokesperson Heath Hall did confirm that Caldwell was shot. It’s the first homicide of the year in Madison County.
According to a local transgender advocacy group, it’s also the nation’s first homicide of a transgender victim this year.
Evonne Kaho, CEO of transgender nonprofit group Love Me Unlimited 4 Life, commented on the shooting as a leader of the community and longtime friend of Cladwell.
"This is a tragic event, and it not only impacts the trans community, but the community as a whole," she told The Clarion Ledger. "Each time a person of trans experience is killed or experiences violence against them, it is an assault against all of the ideals that we as a country stand for. The ideals of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. The freedom of being who we want to be and being entitled to do so without persecution."
Caldwell was a hairdresser and artist in Canton, Mississippi, as well as a beloved member of the community.