Indianapolis Metro Police have ruled the death of a 25-year-old trans woman of color, Tajshon Sherman, a homicide, according to local news station WTHR.
Sherman was known to many friends as "Ashley," notes WISH-TV. She lived her life as a woman, according to family members, but family and friends have largely referred to her using male pronouns in the media.
Sherman's body was found early Monday morning by a police officer on standard patrol at East Indianapolis' Tudor Park condominiums. Police say that she had been shot in the head. Officers are still unsure whether she died where she was found, lying under a light pole, or if her body was moved there.
While police said they have interviewed everyone in the condominium complex, Lt. Mark McCadia told WTHR that Sherman's death is a "mystery so far." Police are not investigating the murder a hate crime at this time, according to WISH-TV.
On Wednesday, Sherman's family and friends held a vigil where her body was found that was attended by nearly 100 people. Family members urged Sherman's killer to come forward.
"[She] had a life like everybody else did. [She] didn't deserve to die like this," the victim's mother, Deshea Sherman, told WISH-TV. "You was wrong for what you did. You could have just let [her] go."
Sherman's death is the tenth reported instance of a trans woman of color being murdered in the U.S. this year. The other women include Aniya Parker, Alejandra Leos, Tiffany Edwards, Kandy Hall, Mia Henderson, Zoraida Reyes, Yaz'min Sancez, Brittany-Nicole Kidd-Stergis, and an unidentified gender-nonconforming person who was killed in Detroit in August. Additionally, an anonymous trans woman of color was nearly beaten to death this month in Brooklyn, N.Y., and two other women, Mayang Prasetyo and Jennifer Laude, were killed in Australia and the Philippines, respectively.
"Tajshon Sherman's death makes it clear that there is an alarming epidemic of fatal violence against transgender and gender non-conforming women, specifically ransgender women of color in the United States," said Osman Ahmed of the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs in a statement Thursday. "This violence is exacerbated by misgendering of victims by law enforcement and media outlets."
Anyone with information about Sherman's murder should call Crime Stoppers at 317-262-TIPS, log onto crimetips.org, or text "INDYCS" plus tip information to 274627.
Watch the WISH-TV report below to hear more from Sherman's loved ones.