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Trans Businesswoman Shot to Death While Being Treated in Ambulance

Monika Diamond

Before her brazen murder, Monika Diamond was a prominent woman in her North Carolina community.

Monika Diamond, a 34-year-old transgender activist and business operator, was shot to death last week in Charlotte, N.C., while being treated in an ambulance.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg County police answered a call early Wednesday morning to a disturbance at a Days Inn, local station WBTV reports. In the parking lot, they encountered a group of five or six people, one of whom, Diamond, was experiencing shortness of breath. An ambulance was called, and paramedics began treating Diamond in the vehicle.

Diamond asked for a friend to come into the ambulance with her, and a man identified as Prentice Bess, 32, tried to enter it but was turned away, as no one is allowed in ambulances except the paramedics and the person being treated. He left briefly, then returned and shot Diamond several times, according to police. Paramedics tried to revive her, but she was pronounced dead at the scene. Bess was arrested and charged with murder.

Diamond was the founder and co-owner of Ncphyne Promotion Co., an event marketing company, according to the Human Rights Campaign. She was also co-CEO of the International Mother of the Year Pageantry System, which honors LGBTQ mothers.

"Through her work, Diamond spent her adult life creating community and spaces for LGBTQ people in Charlotte and beyond to come together and celebrate their lives," HRC notes in a blog post. "She was a chosen mother to countless. She was a business owner, a loving friend and she did not deserve to have her life taken from her."

She is at least the fourth transgender person known to have been murdered in the U.S. this year.

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