3rd Murder of a Trans Person in Jacksonville Brings Calls for Justice

Another transgender woman of color, Cathalina Christina James, has been murdered in the Florida city.

UPDATE: The victim has been identified as Cathalina Christina James. Her mother told First Coast News her daughter had a big personality, was the life of the party, and loved to dance and travel.

A transgender woman has been killed in Jacksonville, Florida, making her the third trans victim of homicide in the city this year. All three have been trans women of color.

The victim’s body was discovered on Sunday at a hotel. She was shot to death, as were Celine Walker, in February, and Antash’a English, earlier this month.

Police are looking for a man in a beige car as a possible suspect. So far, only the victim’s male name is known, as it was released by authorities, a practice known as “deadnaming.” She was 24-years-old and hailed from Bishopville, South Carolina.

Walker, 36, was also discovered shot dead in a hotel room.

English, 38, was shot while standing between two abandoned houses. No arrests have been made, and no suspects named, in either case.

The latest victim is at least the 13th known transgender person killed this year in the United States alone, meaning nearly a quarter of those victims died in Jacksonville.

A fourth transgender person was also shot in the city this year, but survived.

Activists and community members are calling on police to aggressively investigate the shootings and attempt to identify any possible connections between the cases.

“This isn’t something that should be considered normal,” activist Christina Kittle told WTLV-TV. “People are dying, this is very serious.”

“A lot of my friends are scared, they’re just scared to go out. I mean, I would be scared too.”

“First and foremost, we join the Jacksonville transgender community in mourning the loss of a third transgender victim of fatal violence and demanding justice. Antash’a English, Celine Walker, and this latest unnamed victim were young women filled with hopes and dreams, and worthy of dignity and respect,” said Human Rights Campaign National Press Secretary Sarah McBride in a statement.

“For years, there has been a crisis of violence targeting the transgender community, particularly transgender women of color. With four shootings—including three fatal shootings—of transgender women in the last six months, Jacksonville is now at the center of that crisis,” she added.

“We implore all those tasked with investigating and covering these tragic murders to respect the gender identity of the victims, both because it is the right thing to do and because it is a necessary component in combating this epidemic of violence.”

A rally calling for the protection of transgender people will take place on Wednesday outside the county courthouse.

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