The body of a 22-year-old Black transgender woman was discovered in a Dallas parking lot yesterday morning. A passerby found Merci Mack unconscious and suffering from an apparent gunshot wound to the head. She is the 4th Black transgender woman killed during Pride, and the 19th trans person violently killed in 2020.
“Another Black transgender woman has had her life stolen from her,” Tori Cooper, HRC director of community engagement for the Transgender Justice Initiative, said in a statement. “We cannot become numb to the fact that our community has learned of more killings of transgender and gender non-conforming people in the past few weeks than HRC has ever tracked in the past seven years. Her friends say that Merci Mack was a young, upbeat soul who deserved to experience a full life. HRC is mourning with Merci’s loved ones and are calling for a full, thorough investigation into her death.”
“What do you do when you don’t have the capacity to wrap your head around the pain and trauma a community of people continues to experience and you know that your feelings aren’t half of what’s required to show up as a member of that community?" asked David Johns, Executive Director of the National Black Justice Coalition in a statement. "You continue the work and insist that others, who purport to believe that #BlackLivesMatter, also get engaged."
There are no reported eyewitnesses to Mack’s murder, and police are asking for help from the public. Residents in the area reported hearing gunshots around 5:00 a.m. yesterday morning, but apparently did not call 911 according to phone logs. A passerby did call to report the discovery of an unconscious Mack at 6:15 a.m., but the 22-year-old was later pronounced dead at the scene.
The murder in Dallas is part of an ongoing epidemic of violence against transgender folks. The body of 17-year-old Brayla Stone was found in a suburb of Little Rock, Arkansas, last week. A man claiming to be her murderer bragged on social media he had been paid $5,000 for the hit. Prior to that, Riah Milton was shot and killed during a robbery attempt in Ohio. Police arrested three people in connection with her death. The dismembered body of Dominique Rem’mie Fells was earlier found alongside the Schuylkill River in Philadelphia. Police are treating her case as a homicide.
Often, these deaths can go unreported because of the brutality of the murders or because of misidentifying the victims. Initial police and media reports misgendered Fells as authorities spent several days trying identify the remains. Mack’s family has also insisted upon using her deadname.
As the death toll of transgender persons continues to rise, John noted that the community needs to do more to protect vulnerable peoples.
“Merci Mack deserves better, as a community we failed her and so many of our trans siblings and this is beyond unacceptable”
Police are asking anyone with information in connection with Mack's death to contact Dallas police Detective Brian Tabor at 214-671-3605 or [email protected]