Baltimore police are investigating the shooting death of Alphonza Watson, a 38-year-old Black trans woman.
The Baltimore Sun reports that Watson was found shot in the stomach early Wednesday morning. The shooting allegedly followed an argument that witnesses heard before seeing two men flee in a dark-colored vehicle.
Watson was taken to John Hopkins Hospital and later pronounced dead.
“She was a very caring, passionate, fun person to be around, always in a talkative and playful mood,” said Watson’s mother, Peggy Walker said. “Very close to the lord. She didn’t belong to a church or anything like that but she always talked about the lord.”
Walker told The Sun that Watson was “the sunshine of our family” and “would never do any harm to anyone.”
She went on to say that Watson had identified as transgender ever since her teenage years and was working as a top salesperson at a high-end retail store in Northern Virginia.
Baltimore police spokesman T.J. Smith gave a statement to the media where he said that there currently isn’t much information to work with concerning Watson’s death.
“That’s a vulnerable community that has had some issues in the past,” Smith said.
Members of the local LGBTQ community, including local advocacy group GLSEN Baltimore, have come out in support of anyone who needs a safe space to grieve and heal.Police Commissioner Kevin Davis even met with a local lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender advisory board to discuss Watson’s death.
This tragedy makes Watson the ninth reported transgender murder victim of 2017.