Muhlaysia Booker, a 23-year-old transgender woman who made headlines after being attacked in a Dallas parking lot in April, was murdered on Saturday, authorities said. Last month's brutal assault, which began after a minor traffic accident, was caught on camera and went viral. Police said there's no evidence connecting Booker's death to the previous attack.
According to the Dallas Police Department, Booker was fatally shot on Saturday. Although authorities attributed her death to "homicidal violence," they have not offered any additional details about potential suspects or motives. At the moment, there's not enough information to label Booker's murder as a hate crime.
Authorities said that even though Edward Thomas, the 29-year-old man charged in connection with Booker's beating in April, was no longer in police custody, there is no evidence that he was involved in her death. Police officials are still trying to identify the other suspects who assaulted Booker.
Booker is reportedly the fourth transgender woman to be murdered this year. Research shows that transgender women, particularly those who are women of color, face disproportionately high levels of violence compared to the rest of the population. At least 26 transgender people were killed in 2018, according to the Human Rights Campaign. The organization said 82% of the victims killed between January and November 2018 were women of color. (The tally could be higher because it's often hard to track cases of violence against transgender people due to the misgendering of victims.) This year, at least three other transgender women — Dana Martin, Ashanti Carmon, and Claire Legato — have been killed.
Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings, who forcefully spoke up against Booker's attackers last month, issued a short statement after her death. "I am deeply saddened to learn of the murder of Muhlaysia Booker," he tweeted. "I call on anyone with information on this homicide to please contact the Dallas Police Department."
Those with information about Booker's death should reach out to Homicide Detective David Grubbs at 214-671-3675 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.