Nino Fortson, a 36-year-old transgender man, was shot to death in Atlanta on Sunday.
Fortson is the 10th known transgender homicide victim this year, and the first transgender man among them.
Fortson was involved in an argument with two men and two women on the street, The Atlanta Jounral-Constitution reports. A witness said he fired a small gun into the air but then walked away. But a few minutes later, the witness heard more gunshots and then saw him lying on the ground, as one of the other people involved in the dispute limped away. Fortson died shortly afterward at Grady Memorial Hospital.
Initial media reports misgendered and deadnamed Fortson, something called out by friends and allies social media.
Nino Fortson, a 36-year-old trans man of color, has been killed in Atlanta, GA. Nino is the first trans man that we know of killed in 2018. Violence against transgender people of color must receive more and accurate media attention. https://t.co/9NtNsvCRRU pic.twitter.com/jwFnywVKuy
— GLAAD (@glaad) May 16, 2018
— Emily Nero Madhu (@EmilyMadhu) May 16, 2018
“Our preliminary investigation did not in any way indicate that this individual identified as transgender. And we have no evidence at all that such an identification played any role in this death,” Atlanta police spokesman Carlos Campos said in a statement, the Journal-Constitution reports. “But given the issues that have been raised publicly, we have engaged our LGBT liaisons and asked them to work with our homicide unit to see if there are angles that need to be explored.”
Meanwhile, Dallas police say a transgender woman’s body was found in a creek in the city Saturday. They are not yet classifying her death as a homicide, classifying it for now as an “unexplained death,” NBC News reports. A kayaker found her body, which was in a “severe state of decomposition,” according to the report.
“There were some injuries,” Dallas Deputy Chief Thomas Castro told journalists Tuesday. “We’re waiting on confirmation of cause of death from the medical examiner’s office.” Police are seeking help from the public in identifying the woman.
The discovery of the woman’s body came just four days after the death of another Dallas trans woman, Carla Patricia Flores-Pavon, who was strangled in her apartment. Police Thursday arrested a suspect in Flores-Pavon’s murder — Jimmy Eugene Johnson II, 24, near Huntsville, Texas, KTVT of Dallas reports.
Johnson, who was arrested during a traffic stop, had items from Flores-Pavon’s apartment in his car, so police believe his motive was robbery and not anti-transgender bias, the station reports. He is charged with murder and is being held at the Walker County Jail on a $500,000 bond, and was expected to be transferred to Dallas soon, according to KTVT.