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25-Year-Old Trans Woman Miia Love Parker Shot Dead in Philadelphia

Miia Love Parker

Police have identified a suspect and are searching for him.

Black transgender woman Miia Love Parker, 25, was shot to death April 1 in Chester, Pa., a Philadelphia suburb, and police have identified a suspect but have yet to apprehend him.

Parker was in a parked vehicle when she was shot, Philadelphia's CBS affiliate reports. A friend took her to a hospital, but she did not survive.

Chester police are searching for Saad Najeed Dwight, 38. He is likely armed and dangerous, police said, advising members of the public not to confront him but to call authorities instead. He will face charges of criminal homicide, third-degree murder, and possession of a firearm not to be carried without a license, according to the TV station. Police have not said what they believe to be his motive.

"Miia's friends describe her as someone who lit up a room when she entered," Pgh Lesbian Correspondents reports. "Her Facebook profiles lists among her likes -- the TV show Pose, puppy memes, and lots of shopping and fashion pages." Friends organized a vigil the weekend after her death.

"Friends remember Miia Love Parker as a brilliant light that brought joy into every room she entered," Tori Cooper, the Human Rights Campaign's director of community engagement for its Transgender Justice Initiative, said in a press release. "That light was extinguished far too soon. Her death is the second known in the state of Pennsylvania just this year and one of too many that have happened around the country. We must honor her light by continuing the fight for justice and protection of our community." Black trans woman Amarey Lej, 21, was found dead of a gunshot wound New Year's Day in Pittsburgh.

Parker is at least the 10th trans, nonbinary, or gender-nonconforming American to have died by violence in 2022, after 2021 saw a record 57 such deaths. The actual number is likely higher, as some victims are deadnamed or misgendered, or their deaths not reported at all. Six of the victims this year have been Black trans women.

To contact Chester police, call 911 or (610) 447-8424.

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