Jayne Thompson, 33, was gunned down by a Colorado State Patrol trooper in May, making her the 15th known violent death of a transgender or gender non-conforming person this year in the United States, according to the Human Rights Campaign.
News of her death wasn't known to queer media until recently due to several local outlets misgendering, deadnaming, and outright underplaying the manner in which she died.
According to the Denver Post, one of many outlets to have misgendered her, Thompson was shot by trooper Jason Wade after he responded to a report of a person exhibiting “odd behavior.”
A Critical Incident Response Team news release stated that Thompson was reportedly exhibiting "odd behavior" and had been standing still in the same position for a “couple of hours” near the Orchard Mesa Market, a local grocery store.
The further explained that Thompson didn’t respond or “acknowledge their presence” when a concerned citizen checked in to see if she was OK.
According to KKCO, a local NBC affiliate, Wade arrived after a 911 call was made. That’s when Thompson allegedly started to “act aggressively and displayed a 10-inch knife.”
Upon seeing the knife, Wade reportedly shot Thompson in the torso several times.
It is unclear as of now if Thompson approached the officer in a threatening way with the weapon, if there was any physical altercation between the two, or if any verbal threats were exchanged to Wade by Thomas.
Wade was not injured, but Thompson died at the scene from gunshots wounds of the torso. Her death has been ruled a homicide.
Toxicology reports are pending, and the root of Thompson’s alleged “odd” behavior has yet to be confirmed.
Thompson was the second trans or gender non-conforming person to be killed by police in the last month alone. Tony McDade, 38, a Black trans man, was killed on May 27 by an officer in Tallahassee, Florida McDade was reportedly experiencing mental distress before his death, and had struggled with mental illness in his life.
“In reading about the fatal shooting of Jayne Thompson by a Colorado State Trooper, two things become clear,” Tori Cooper, HRC director of community engagement for the Transgender Justice Initiative, said in a press release. “First, it is appalling that it took the media over a month to correctly identify Jayne with her correct name and pronouns. Transgender and gender non-conforming people deserve dignity in death as well as life. Secondly, it is clear that Jayne was in crisis when she was approached by Colorado State Patrol. When members of the community need help, the expectation is to protect and serve and not to be killed.”
In Colorado, specifically, transgender and gender non-conforming people are protected in employment, housing, and in public spaces. They are also covered under the state’s hate crimes legislation, the HRC confirms.
More information on Thompson's case is sure to be revealed this week.