Trans Woman Murdered Outside Her Memphis Home
Police have arrested and charged a man with murder for the shooting death of a transgender woman in Memphis, Tenn., reports Memphis news station WMC-TV.
Police believe Alejandra Leos, 41, was trying to leave her home on her bicycle after a fight with her boyfriend, when 21-year-old Marshall Pegues shot her in the back. Leos was reportedly just feet away from her front door when she was shot to death. Pegues was arrested Sunday and charged with first-degree murder, according to local news station WREG-TV.
Flowers and candles mark the spot on the 1600 block of Berkshire where Leos was killed. Friends and family of Leos have set up a fundraising page to assist with funeral costs, directing donations through the Gun Violence Survivors Foundation's Funeral Fund: #RememberAlejandra.
Leos's mother, Irma Caballerro, spoke to WREG in a state of shock. Translating from Spanish, family friend Melisa Smith told the news station that Caballerro "doesn't have any words right now."
Describing Leos, Smith went on to explain she was the kind of woman who would say, "'You don't have a jacket? I'll give it to you.'"
"It was to the point where if you didn't have no place to sleep [Alejandra] would help you," she continued.
Police — who initially misidentified Leos as a man — originally declined to say whether the case is being treated as a potential hate crime, notes WREG. Pegues's arrest, however, appears to indicate that Leos was killed in an act of domestic violence.
Leos is among a large number of trans women of color in the U.S. whose murders have been noted by the media this summer. Others include Cemia Dove, Tiffany Edwards, Kandy Hall, Zoraida Reyes Yaz'min Sancez, and Nicole Kidd-Stergis.
Anyone with information relevant to the case can contact the Memphis Police Department at (901) 636-3700.
Watch WRC's report on the arrest of Leos's suspected killer below.