Zoe Spears, a 23-year-old trans woman, was shot and killed in Fairmount Heights, Md. on June 13, mere blocks away from the spot where another black trans woman, Ashanti Carmon, was killed in March.
Now, her community is left mourning two losses in short succession, and grappling with fear for the safety of other trans women of color living in the D.C. area.
Police responded to a welfare check on the 600 block of Eastern Avenue just before midnight, Prince George’s County Police Major Brian Reilly said at a press conference last week. There, they found Spears on the sidewalk suffering from multiple gunshot wounds. She was pronounced dead on the scene.
Reilly said that it’s still unknown whether Spears’s death is related to Carmon’s, or whether there is any specific target on trans women on Eastern Avenue, an area straddling the D.C.-Maryland border that’s known as a gathering place for sex workers.
“What I can say to you is that it’s unusual that we had two murders like this within a couple blocks of each other,” he said. “What we would say to the community that’s out there is look out for each other.”
But Earline Budd, a transgender activist in D.C. who knew both of the women murdered this year, told DCist that she strongly believes the two deaths are related. Spears and Carmon were good friends, she says. And a week before Spears died, she texted Budd begging for help to be relocated out of her apartment on Eastern Avenue. She told Budd that she feared for her life because she witnessed Carmon’s murder months ago. Read more via DCist