Karine Jean-Pierre
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Ashanti Carmon Is the Second Trans Woman Killed in 2019

Ashanti Carmon

A transgender woman was found shot to death in Maryland on Saturday, marking the second known homicide of a transgender American this year.

Police have not released the name of the 27-year-old victim, but friends and family identified her as Ashanti Carmon, the Washington Blade reports.

She was found about 6:30 a.m. on a street in a residential area of Fairmount Heights, which is in Prince George’s County just across the border from Washington, D.C., according to the Blade. Police had responded to reports of shots fired in the area a few minutes earlier. Carmon was pronounced dead at the scene.

Carmon, who lived in Alexandria, Va., occasionally visited a D.C. drop-in center run by LGBTQ support group HIPS. “She didn’t hang out as a regular,” HIPS staffer and trans activist Earline Budd told the Blade. “But when she came she was always so delightful. She would hang out at the drop-in center with the rest of the girls and the guys. And I just used to tell her how beautiful she was and hoped that she was pulling it together.”

She had been in a relationship with Philip Williams for six years, and they planned to marry. “I mean six years with her, that’s the most brilliant thing I’ve ever done in my life other than being born,” Williams told D.C. television station WTTG. “Everything just went on pause for me [when he learned of her death]. I just couldn’t bear to be a witness to her going like this. She’s too young. She’s not violent. She’s always a sweetheart, giving.”

Prince George’s County police said they may release more information about the crime today. HIPS and D.C. LGBTQ social services center Casa Ruby are planning a vigil.

Dana Martin, shot to death in Alabama in January, was the first known trans homicide victim this year. There were at least 24 transgender people, mostly women of color, murdered in the U.S. in 2018. The actual number is probably higher, given that some victims are misgendered by police or media or their deaths not widely reported.

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