Transgender woman Shantee Tucker was shot to death in Philadelphia Wednesday, and activists say her gender identity was likely a motive in the attack, although police are doubtful.
Tucker, 30, was observed having an argument with someone in a pickup truck about 1 a.m. Wednesday in the city’s Hunting Park neighborhood, the Philadelphia Daily News reports. As she ran away from the truck, a person began firing shots from inside the vehicle, and at least one struck her in the back. Police recovered eight cartridge casings at the scene, and Tucker was pronounced dead at a hospital about five hours later.
"The motive for this killing at this time is unknown,” Capt. John Ryan of the Philadelphia police’s homicide unit said at a press conference Wednesday, the Daily News reports. As to whether her gender was a factor in the crime, he said, “She wasn't targeted because of her gender affiliation or lifestyle.” He said police believe she knew her attacker, but declined to elaborate.
Tucker’s friends and transgender activists say her identity may well have been a motivator in the crime, though. Tatyana Woodard, a friend of Tucker’s who works with trans clients at the Mazzoni Center, an LGBTQ health care center, told the paper she definitely believes Tucker was attacked for being transgender.
She also said Tucker, who worked at a beauty supply store, “was a very genuine person, a very real person, down-to-earth.” Philadelphia’s trans community is “grieving,” she added.
Tucker’s death is the 19th known homicide of a transgender American this year. Most of the victims have been women of color.
Police are seeking the public’s help in finding Tucker’s killer. They ask that anyone with information call the homicide unit at (215) 686-3334.