On Thursday night, 23-year-old Zoe Spears, a Black transgender woman, was shot and killed in Fairmount Heights, Maryland. She is the 10th trans woman reported murdered this year in the United States
According to the Washington Post, the Washington, D.C. resident was found lying in the street with several gunshot wounds, including one to the head, on Eastern Avenue. Spears was found nearly half a mile away from where her friend Ashanti Carmon, another young Black trans woman, was also found fatally shot on March 27.
“[Zoe Spears] was just trying to make it and just trying to survive on the street, and that is very difficult,” said Earline Budd, a long-time trans advocate.
At a press briefing on Friday, Maj. Brian Reilly, commander of the Prince George’s County Police Department’s criminal investigation division, expressed concern about the proximity of the murders of Carmon and Spears.
“It’s unusual that we’d have two murders just a few blocks from each other,” he said. “What we can say to community is just to look out for each other. We still can’t say these two cases are related to each other.
The PG County Police Department is in conversation with women in the area who knew Spears and Carmon, searching for leads on suspects, however, Reilly suggested that anyone with information call PG County police detectives at 301-772-4925. Anonymous tips can be provided by contacting Crime Solvers online or by calling 866-411-TIPS (8477).
This has been a particularly devastating Pride Month as at least four other trans women of color have been murdered or reported dead since its onset. On June 1, Johana “Joa” Medina Léon, 25, was found dead in Immigrations and Customs Enforcement custody. The same day, Chynal Lindsey, 26, was found dead in White Rock Lake in Dallas, Texas. On June 6, Chanel Scurlock, 23, was fatally shot in Lumberton, North Carolina. And most recently, Layleen Polanco, 27, was found dead in Rikers Island Jail in New York.