Imer Alvarado of Fresno, Calif., who was identified early as a transgender woman but appears to have actually been a gay man, was shot to death in the city early Wednesday morning.
Alvarado was found on a Fresno street, suffering from multiple gunshot wounds, around 3 a.m., and died at Community Regional Medical Center about 30 minutes later, The Fresno Bee reports. Police had responded to a report of shots being fired in the area.
Police Chief Jerry Dyer told the Bee that Alvarado “appears to be transgender,” but a friend told Fresno TV station KFSN that Alvarado was a gay man and was dressed in drag at the time of the slaying. Friends posting on Facebook also said he was gay and not trans. Police also said Alvarado, 34, was deaf.
A surveillance camera captured the entire crime, and police are seeking a male suspect. Alvarado appeared to be running away from the shooter, who fired multiple rounds, Dyer told the Bee. Police are investigating whether Alvarado’s killing was a bias-motivated crime.
A worker at a drop-in center, located in a Fresno Planned Parenthood clinic, described Alvarado as “a beautiful and loving spirit” who “brought happiness to those who knew him,” reports another Fresno TV station, KSEE. Alvarado visited the center often as a youth, the worker said.
Alvarado was memorialized at a vigil Friday night. “The people that we’ve been talking to have said that they weren’t transgender, that they were from the drag community,” Jess Fitzpatrick, cochair of local trans group Trans-E-Motion, said at the event, KFSN reports. “I don’t care what their gender preferences were. It’s clear that they are from the LGBTQ community, but it was a human being’s life that was lost.”