Tonya Harvey, a 35-year-old transgender woman, was shot and killed on a dead-end street in Buffalo, New York, earlier this week.
Harvey, who was misgendered in initial reports, was pronounced dead when police arrived at the scene early Tuesday morning. Authorities are still investigating possible leads in her case.
She is Buffalo’s first homicide victim this year, and the third known trans person murdered in the U.S. in 2018, after Christa Leigh Steele-Knudslien and Vicky Gutierrez, who were both killed in January.
A spokesperson from the Erie County District Attorney’s Office told Buffalo News that the team is “extremely concerned about a spike in homicides of transgender people across the country and will be, as part of this investigation, looking into whether or not this is a potential hate crime.”
Harvey, known to friends as Kita, is remembered by her community as “beautiful and strong.”
In 2017, at least 27 transgender Americans, most of whom were trans women of color like Harvey, were victims of anti-trans homicide.