Deeniquia Dodds, a transgender woman of color from Washington, D.C., died Wednesday after being shot in the neck by a so-far unidentified attacker July 4 just a few blocks from her home, Washington TV station WRC reports.
Dodds, known as Dee Dee to friends, was found by a pedestrian early in the morning of July 4 and was rushed to Prince George's Hospital Center, where she spent nine days on life support before succumbing to her injuries.There were no witnesses to her attack, and no arrests have been made.
Joeann Lewis, the aunt who raised Dodds, told the TV station that Dodds was a "beautiful person" who "loved to make you laugh. Loved to make you smile."
Initial police reports and news coverage of the attack on Dodds misgendered her, referring to her by her birth name and identifying her as male. It was not until Wednesday that there was any public mention of Dodds's trans identity. The fact that Dodds was a trans woman was first reported by the Washington Blade, after Earline Budd, a local transgender activist with the harm reduction organization HIPS, shared the information with the paper.
Budd said she had been informed unofficially of the attack on Dodds earlier in the week but decided to come forward after police failed to disclose the attack on the trans woman for more than a week, saying, "They need to put out the word to the community that this happened. Somebody may have seen something during that early part of the morning. They may have seen her with someone." Budd also shared concerns that unknown suspect could be targeting other area trans women, particularly sex workers.
In an article posted to its Medium page, HIPS DC severely criticized the Metropolitan Police Department for its response to the attack on Dodds:
"In the police report on Dodds’ case, officers used the name that was assigned to Dodds at birth instead of the name that she actually used for herself. In issuing a report that misgenders shooting victims, police officers reproduce the very same violent attitudes that make tragedies like this one possible. Washington, D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier has spoken with the transgender community and has promised that transgender people will be respected and protected by the D.C. police force. This respect and protection includes using the names and gender pronouns that individuals use to identify themselves in police reports. However, this policy was blatantly ignored in Dodds’ case, as well as in many others."
Mic reports that Dodd was also involved with Casa Ruby, a D.C.–area LGBTQ advocacy organization. In statement to Mic, founder Ruby Coronado said, "Deeniquia was part of the Casa Ruby family, and she is gone, but not forgotten. Her death will not be in vain."
Dodds is the 15th trans person murdered in 2016, the vast majority of whom were trans women of color.