The killing of 23-year-old Kerrice Lewis has gone largely underreported by media, creating a conversation on social media about how the deaths of queer black women are covered in the media.
On Thursday, Dec. 28, the Hyattsville, Maryland, resident was found shot multiple times and stuffed into the trunk of her car. The car with her inside was set on fire before police arrived at the scene, according to NBC Washington.
The Huffington Post reported that the woman was discovered unconscious and suffering from gunshot wounds in the trunk. By the time medics arrived, she was gone.
Residents around the area, 800 block of Adrian Street, SE, heard gunshots and saw a raging fire but did not see any suspects. There was reportedly screaming as Lewis tried to escape the flaming vehicle.
About an hour before she was discovered, her friend 27-year-old Armani Niko Coles of northwest D.C., was pushed out of a car about two miles away from her. They were childhood friends and he was pronounced dead once authorities and medics arrived.
“It’s tragic,” said Lewis’ grandfather William Sharp. “Loss for words on it. She didn’t deserve it.”
Sharp helped raise Lewis after her father was murdered in 2006. When Lewis was 11 years old, her mother died of a brain aneurysm — leaving her in the care of her grandparents.
Many Twitter users have speculated that there has been foul play that connects both murders. Lewis' sexuality was also rarely mentioned in reports leading others to believe that Lewis' story has been pushed aside because of bias toward butch lesbian women and has not received the proper attention it deserves.
How is it possible that @nytimes has not yet covered the murder of Kerrice Lewis?— Marsha McLeod (@marshamcleod_NY) January 7, 2018
The @washingtonpost's 1st story of her murder was 129 words long. Their 2nd doesn't mention Lewis' name until the seventh graf--not to mention it leaves out that she was likely burned alive.
Black queer women get murdered and no one notices. This was brought to light because someone replyed to my tweet talking about the murder of other black lesbians. https://t.co/2IapdNqIWc— Chokola 🇭🇹🌹 (@ShadleyLove) January 6, 2018
Mercedes Roulac, a longtime friend of Lewis, said they have always talked and Lewis was very close to her son.
"It hurt. It not only hurt me, it hurt my son.”
“She loved my son like he was her son,” she said.
Police believe both murders are connected, yet there are no suspects at this time and no clear motive established.