Duval Princess, a 24-year-old Black transgender woman from Jacksonville, Fla., was found shot to death in her car at a shopping center January 2. She is the second known trans, nonbinary, or gender-nonconforming victim of fatal violence in the U.S. this year.
Princess's family told local media that she had an "outgoing personality" and was "a little firefly."
The popular hairstylist had been in the early stages of transitioning and identified as trans, according to her friends, the Human Rights Campaign reports.
Her body was found inside a car at a shopping center after authorities received a call from the center's security guard that he had found a person unresponsive, according to First Coast News (which misgenders and deadnames Princess).
Family members believe Princess went to the shopping center to meet someone she knew.
Security camera footage shows a person waiting at the shopping center. As Princess pulls her car up, the person goes to the driver's side, then to the passenger side, then back to the driver's side. They finally go back to the passenger side and get in Princess's car. TV station WJAX (which also misgenders and deadnames Princess) reports that a flash is seen in the footage and the person leaves the vehicle and flees.
"It is with great pain and extreme disbelief that we respond to yet another violent death of someone from our community mere days into the new year. Duval Princess was barely able to live as her most authentic self when such a senseless act of violence stole that journey from her," said Tori Cooper, HRC's director of community engagement for its Transgender Justice Initiative, in a statement.
Cooper added that guns continue to be a threat to LGBTQ+ lives, especially to the trans community.
"We cannot let this year be a reiteration of 2021, the most violent year on record for our community. We must demand that the violence end, but not just members of the trans and LGBTQ+ community, but all of us," Cooper said.
Rights groups recorded at least 51 violent deaths of trans and nonbinary people in 2021, which was more than any year since groups started tracking such violence. The number of victims in any given year is likely higher, as some are misgendered and deadnamed by police or media, or their deaths not reported at all.
Anyone who knows what happened at the Highland Square Shopping Center around 1 a.m. January 2 is urged to call Crime Stoppers at (866) 845-TIPS.