A transgender woman was murdered Thursday night in Fairmount Heights, Md., a suburb of Washington, D.C. — the second homicide of a trans woman in that town this year.
Zoe Spears, 23, who lived in Washington, was found with a gunshot wound on a street in Fairmount Heights just before midnight and was pronounced dead at the scene, The Washington Post reports.
Trans woman Ashanti Carmon was shot to death in the suburb March 27, and her body was discovered “less than half a mile away from where Spears was found,” the Post notes. Her murder is still under investigation.
“There’s no direct link that we see at this point, but that is obviously something we are monitoring very closely,” said Maj. Brian Reilly, commander of the criminal investigation division for Prince George’s County police, according to the paper.
“It’s unusual that we had two murders like this within a couple blocks of each other,” he added.
Both were found near Eastern Avenue, a street that divides Fairmount Heights from Washington. “I’m really pleading with the community and others to be aware and do not go on Eastern Avenue,” Earline Budd, a trans activist and harm reduction coordinator with social services agency HIPS, told the Post.
Budd described Spears, whom she had known for six years, as a “vibrant young person.”
“She was just trying to make it and just trying to survive on the street, and that is very difficult,” Budd said.
Spears is the 10th transgender American known to have been murdered this year. All of them have been women of color.