A Black transgender woman was found shot to death in Louisiana last Wednesday, making 2020 the deadliest year for the transgender community. Brooklyn DeShauna Smith, 20, was discovered in her apartment suffering from at least one gunshot wound, according to the Shreveport Times. She is the 5th trans person in past three weeks and the 32nd trans person to be violently killed so far this year, surpassing the previous record of 31 violent killings in 2017.
"Brooklyn was just 20 years old, at the beginning of her life," Tori Cooper, director of community engagement for the transgender justice initiative at the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), said in a statement. "She did not deserve to have that life taken from her. Not one of the trans and gender non-conforming people who have been killed this year deserved to have their lives taken from them."
Some reports have alternatively spelled Smith's name as Brooklyn DeShuna Smith.
The Shreveport Times reported police were called to an apartment on Bernstein Avenue last week to investigate reports of a dead person. Officers found the deceased body of Smith in the apartment and immediately secured the scene. She was suffering from at least one gunshot wound, although details remain limited at the time. Homicide detectives arrived and started their investigation.
"Investigators are working to determine if gender identification was a factor in her death," Sergeant Angie Willhite of the Shreveport Police Department told KSLA.
Smith, who HRC reported attended Bossier Parish Community College where she studied cosmetology, is the 5th trans woman violently killed in America in the last three weeks. Felycya Harris, a Black transgender woman, was found shot to death last week in Georgia. Michelle Michellyn Ramos Vargas, a Latinx transgender woman, was found dead and suffering from multiple gunshot wounds last month in Puerto Rico. Mia Green, a Black transgender woman, was found in the passenger seat of a car that ran a stop sign last month in Philadelphia. She was suffering from multiple gunshot wounds and later died at a local hospital. Aerrion Burnett, a Black transgender woman, was found dead of a gunshot wound in Missouri.
The news of Smith's passing is a reminder of the deadly dangers faced by the transgender community, and the need for greater action to end the violence.
"With the news of Brooklyn's death, we've now seen more trans and gender non-conforming people killed this year since we began tracking these deaths in 2013," said HRC's Cooper. "This violence is horrific, and it must be stopped."
Anyone with information is encouraged to contact the Shreveport Police Department at (318) 673-7300 #3 or (318) 673-6955. Anonymous tipsters can contact Caddo Shreveport Crime Stoppers at (318) 673-7373 or on the P3Tips app.
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