Philadelphia Trans Rights Advocate Is Third Known Trans Woman To Be Killed In The Past Week

Colleagues close to Michelle “Tamika” Washington are reporting a suspect has been charged.

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| May 21 2019,

4:16 pm

A suspect connected with the shooting of a trans rights advocate has been apprehended by police and charged for her murder. 

The victim identified as Michelle “Tamika” Washington was a longtime activist in the transgender community in Philadelphia. According to CBS Philadelphia, the woman was gunned down Sunday and found on the 3400 block of North 11th Street, around 5 a.m. She was discovered with several gunshots---- including shots to her head and body, police said. 

Washington was transported to Temple University’s medical facility and was pronounced dead moments after arriving. Colleagues who knew Washington mourned her on various social media platforms. Abdul-Aliy Muhammad wrote a touching tribute to the victim on Facebook. He described his friend as a positive person who had a great impact on people.

"She has left an extraordinary mark on the lives she has intersected and her flame, eternal," he wrote Monday. 

According to Executive Director of Philadelphia’s Office of LGBT Affairs, Amber Hikes, a man believed to have carried out the shooting was arrested by police Monday around 9 p.m. Authorities and the District Attorney's office charged the suspect with several offenses including murder, possession of a firearm with an altered manufacturer's number, no license and possession of an instrument of crime.

“I am devastated by the senseless murder of yet another one of our trans sisters," she said in a statement. "Tamika was a brilliant and outgoing member of Philadelphia’s transgender community, known for her advocacy and mentorship, and she will be profoundly missed. The epidemic of violence that continues to plague the transgender community—disproportionately impacting trans women of color— is heartbreaking, frightening, and infuriating. The Office of LGBT Affairs will continue combating hate and providing support for the LGBTQ community in Tamika’s memory."

Chair of the Mayor’s Commission on LGBT Affairs, Raquel Evita Saraswati, spoke on behalf of the mayor stating the commission will continue to fight against "queerphobic violence."

“Our community is nothing without black trans women, and we will mourn the loss of Michelle ‘Tamika’ Washington today and in the years to come," she said. "We pledge to not let her loss be in vain, and to stand with those who both endure and combat this violence on a daily basis.”

Washington is said to be the first Black trans woman killed in Philadelphia in 2019. She is the fifth trans woman murdered in the nation this year.

The victim's death comes days after the slaying of Dallas, Texas, transwoman Muhlaysia Booker. Claire Degato in Cleveland was also killed in the past week. The 23-year-old was found dead after speaking out against a group of attackers who ambushed her last month.