Police in Prince George’s County, Md., have arrested a suspect in the death of transgender woman Zoe Spears.
Gerardo Thomas, 33, of Baltimore, is charged with first-degree murder, The Washington Post reports. Spears, 23, of Washington, D.C., was shot to death June 13 in Fairmount Heights, Md., a D.C. suburb.
Thomas acknowledged to police that he was in the neighborhood where Spears was killed that night and was armed, Brian Reilly, head of the criminal investigations division for Prince George’s County Police, told the Post.
Police are still trying to determine his motive but do not believe the crime was related to Spears’s gender identity. “He did not mention anything about her being a transgender female,” Reilly said, adding that Thomas offered no reason for the crime.
Police also do not think Spears’s murder was connected to that of another trans woman, Ashanti Carmon, in the same area in March. The two women were friends, and Carmon’s body was found just half a mile away from where Spears was killed. In the investigation of Carmon’s death, which remains open, police interviewed Spears as a witness.
A memorial service for Spears was held a few days ago. Spears worked in retail and had ambitions to become a lawyer, according to her friends. “To know Zoe was to know her loving and caring spirit,” said a program for the service. “There are many who would say that Zoe was one who [loved] life and wanted to make it.”
So far this year, 11 murders of transgender people, all women of color, have been reported in the U.S.
(RELATED: These Are the Trans People Killed in 2019)