Transgender woman and drag performer Cypress Ramos was found dead in a storage unit in Lubbock, Texas, this month, and a suspect has been charged with murder.
Ramos, 21, "died after being struck with a hard object," TV station KCBD reports. Her body was found February 12.
A security camera recorded Allen Montemayor, 32, entering the storage unit that day with another person and coming out alone. Police tracked him down and saw that he had blood on his legs, and they arrested him.
He said he had come out of a restroom and saw that Ramos had set a fire. He said she then attempted to hit him with a baseball bat and that he struck her in self-defense. He further claimed that he had heard a song telling him to kill Ramos and believed she heard a song telling her to kill him.
Camilla Urbina, a friend of Ramos's, told KCBD she didn't believe Montemayor acted in self-defense. "She is not that strong to even hit a person with a crowbar or a four-by-four or whatever it was that hit him when he was out of the restroom," Urbina said of Ramos. "There's no way." She also alleged that Montemayor had set the fire. "He tried to burn my friend, literally," she said.
Montemayor is charged with murder and is being held at the Lubbock County Detention Center.
Ramos was well-loved in the Lubbock LGBTQ+ community, said Urbina, who has a video of one of Ramos's performances that she treasures. "Now that I have a video that she does have, that was from her hands, it just means so much more," Urbina said.
Ramos is the third trans American known to have died by violence in 2022, after 2021 saw a record total of 56 such deaths reported. The total for any given year is likely higher, as many victims are deadnamed and misgendered, or their deaths not reported at all.
"Cypress Ramos' death was an awful end to such a young life," Tori Cooper, the Human Rights Campaign's director of community engagement for its Transgender Justice Initiative, said in a press release. "Her story highlights how trans women of color are still devalued in our society. We must all work to end the epidemic of violence against transgender and nonbinary people. May justice be served in this case."