Police in Lynchburg, Virginia are investigating the murder of a 28-year-old trans woman after she was reportedly shot multiple times Sunday.
Officers discovered Ebony Morgan’s body at 1am on Sunday morning after responding to a residence for reports of a malicious wounding. She was rushed to Lynchburg General Hospital, where she was pronounced dead as a result of her injuries.
LPD on Monday named Kenneth Allen Kelley Jr., 22, a person of interest in the ongoing investigation of Morgan’s death. Officers are currently on the lookout for the suspect, who fled the scene before they arrived.
While authorities are aware of Morgan’s transgender identity, Lynchburg Police Sgt. Bryan Williams told The News & Advance that there was no evidence as of yet to suggest the shooting was a hate crime. He added that police are investigating all possible motives and will pursue any and all leads.
The Lynchburg Diversity Center and its Transgender Alliance division have spoken with Morgan’s family and provided extra emotional and psychological support for the local trans community.
“The family is very quiet and we are respecting their privacy,” Transgender Alliance executive director Andi Miller told Mic via Facebook on Monday. “We have offered help and assistance to the family and we will be available to them whenever they need us.”
Morgan is the 15th trans woman to be murdered in 2017. The other victims include Ava Le’Ray Barrin, Kenne McFadden, Mesha Caldwell, Jamie Lee Wounded Arrow, JoJo Striker, Jaqarrius Holland, Keke Collier, Chyna Gibson, Ciara McElveen, Alphonza Watson, Chay Reed, Mx Bostick, and Sherrell Faulkner, who succumbed to injuries related to a 2016 assault.
In 2016, at least 23 trans people were murdered in the U.S. A majority of the victims were women of color.