The Los Angeles Police Department has arrested a suspect in the murder of an L.A. transgender woman.
The LAPD-FBI Fugitive Task Force detained Kevyn Ramirez, 29, Thursday for the death of Viccky Gutierrez, who is believed to have died in a fire of suspicious origin this week.
"West Bureau Homicide investigators obtained a search warrant and recovered evidence related to the crime. Ramirez has admitted to investigators that he killed the victim after a dispute," noted an LAPD press release.
Ramirez is being held on bail, set at $2 million.
The coroner has yet to confirm the identity of the deceased; but trans activist Bamby Salcedo and friends say they are sure it is Gutierrez. Salcedo, the president of TransLatina Coalition, called Gutierrez "our beloved sister" and organized a memorial vigil for her Friday in L.A. The Los Angeles Blade reports that police have reached out to Gutierrez's family.
Initially, the LAPD classified the death as suspicious, but now consider it a murder. The fire was confined to one second-floor unit and the attic of the 116-year-old building, and other occupants escaped unharmed. The Los Angeles Fire Department, responding to the Wednesday call, doused the flames in 45 minutes, before discovering a body in the unit. Gutierrez lived at the location of the fire.
Once Gutierrez's identity is confirmed, she would be the second trans murder victim in the U.S. this year.
A total of 27 transgender people were reported murdered in the U.S. in 2017, so the year matched 2016 as the deadliest on record for trans Americans. The total for any given year is likely much higher, as some trans people are misgendered in death, or their deaths not reported at all.
The L.A. investigation is ongoing. Anyone with information related to the crime is encouraged to call (213) 382-9470 or (877) LAPD-24-7 on weekends.