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A man from Palmdale, Calif., has been charged with murder and a hate crime in the death of a homeless transgender woman in Los Angeles.
Cherry Bush, 48, was shot to death July 5 in the Sylmar neighborhood of L.A. Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascon's office last Thursday charged Eric Antonio Sanchez, 29, with one count each of murder and attempted murder with a hate-crime allegation, according to a press release from the D.A.'s office.
"Sanchez is accused of pulling out a gun and fatally shooting Bush, who was allegedly targeted based on a presumption of [her] gender identity and sexual orientation," says the press release, which misgendered and deadnamed Bush. "The defendant also is charged with shooting at a nearby bystander."
"Hate crimes have spiked across the country in recent years and we remain steadfast in ensuring that we hold these violent individuals accountable while working to prevent such violence from happening in the future," Gascon said in the release. "Targeting someone because of their race, religion, gender or sexual orientation is unconscionable."
"Cherry's status as a homeless person does not make her life less valuable or reduce the tragedy of her death," Pittsburgh Lesbian Correspondents notes. "Her vulnerability as a person who had no housing is part of the larger narrative of how our society has left our trans neighbors unprotected on multiple fronts -- their identities, their financial security, their housing, and more. Cherry was literally having a conversation when she was shot down simply because she existed."
At least 23 trans, nonbinary, and gender-nonconforming people have died by violence in the U.S. this year. Last year's total was a record 57. In any given year, the total is likely higher than reported due to deadnaming and misgendering. Also in any given year, the majority are women of color.