A transgender woman was shot to death in Baltimore Wednesday morning, in the eighth known homicide of a trans person in 2017.
The 38-year-old victim, who after some delay was identified as Alphonza Watson, had a gunshot wound to the stomach, the Washington Blade reports. Police found her about 4:15 a.m. and took her to Johns Hopkins Hospital, where she died shortly thereafter.
Witnesses said they heard someone yelling for help, then heard shots. Soon afterward, they saw two men get into a car and speed away.
Homicide detectives are investigating. The Baltimore police ask that anyone with relevant information call (410) 396-2100, text (443) 902-4824, or call Metro Crime Stoppers, (866) 7-LOCKUP.
The victim’s name was not made public until her family was notified. Watson, like the other seven trans people known to have been murdered this year, is a woman of color.
She came out as transgender in her teens and went by the nickname "Peaches," her mother, Peggy Walker, told The Baltimore Sun. "She was a very caring, passionate, fun person to be around, always in a talkative and playful mood," Walker said. "Very close to the Lord. She didn't belong to a church or anything like that, but she always talked about the Lord." She said Watson had worked at an upscale retailer in Virginia, where she was one of the best salespeople.
Last year was the deadliest on record for trans people, with 27 known homicides; most victims were women of color. The actual number in any year is likely much larger, as some victims may have been misgendered by police or media, or their deaths not reported at all.