Continuing a disturbing trend of violence against the transgender community, two more Black trans women were killed this week. Content warning: This post does include details of their tragic, gruesome deaths.
Investigators say Riah Milton was shot several times during a robbery attempt in Liberty Township, Ohio, on Tuesday. The dismembered body of Dominique Rem’mie Fells was found alongside the Schuylkill River in the Bartam’s Garden area of Philadelphia Monday night. Police are treating her case as a homicide.
“It is with deep sadness that we share the news of the recent passing of a member of our LGBTQ family,” the Philadelphia’s Office of LGBT Affairs said in a statement following the identification of Fells. “The pain of such a loss is always difficult, but it is especially deep as we are in the midst of Pride month—a season typically filled with joy and celebration for many in our community.”
Initial police and media reports misgendered Fells as authorities spent several days trying identify the remains. Both legs were severed mid-thigh, leading authorities to suspect she may have been run over by a train.
"What's unusual is that both of the victim's legs were cut off at the upper thighs. The body also seems to have some trauma to the head and face," said Chief Inspector Scott Small with the Philadelphia Police Department according to 6ABC.
Riah Milton was killed in Ohio on Tuesday. Investigators are reporting she was lured to a park by three persons in an apparent robbery attempt, during which she was shot several times and died. Investigators say Kaleb Marshall Tooson, 18, and a 14-year-old girl have been arrested in connection with the robbery and death. Tooson, the suspected shooter, accidently shot himself and was treated for his injuries. Police have issued warrants for a third man, Jeffrey Cross, 25, who remains on the run. In addition to charges relating to the robbery and killing, Cross is also wanted for alleged unlawful conduct with a minor.
Coming against the backdrop of protest against the violence against Black bodies, the deaths of two more Black trans women has been difficult for the LGBTQ+ community.
Transgender Americans continue to face disproportionate levels of violence and deaths. Most of those killed are trans women of color, and most were killed by guns.
"We are in an absolute state of emergency for black transgender women,” Chase Glenn, executive director of South Carolina LGBTQ group the Alliance For Full Acceptance, old NBC last year.
The killings happen against a backdrop of rampant transphobia in culture, as well as protests that proclaim Black Lives Matter.
A verified GoFundMe page has been set up to cover Fell’s funeral costs (GoFundMe.com/f/DominiqueFells).