Phylicia Mitchell was shot and killed on February 23, making her the fifth known trans person murdered this year.
The 46-year-old Cleveland resident was shot in front of her home some time around 6pm. Police arrived quickly, and Phylicia was rushed to the hospital, where she was pronounced dead.
No arrests have been made, and her death remains under investigation.
Phylicia, a hairstylist, is survived by her longtime partner, Shane Mitchell, who told Advance Ohio that Phylicia’s drug problem led her to get “mixed up with the wrong people.”
He recalled how his family disapproved of their relationship early on, but Phylicia won them over with her loving personality. His nieces and nephews, he said, treated her “like a big sister.”
“That’s my soul mate,” Shane said. “We went together everywhere. We did everything together. We always held hands on the bus. Years ago people didn’t respect that, but they do now.”
“I want justice for what’s happened,” he added, “because it hurts.”
Earlier this month, Celine Walker of Jacksonville, Florida, and Tonya Harvey of Buffalo, New York, were fatally shot. News of their deaths came just weeks after two other trans women, Christa Leigh Steele-Knudslien and Vicky Gutierrez, were killed.
Last year was the deadliest year on record for transgender Americans, with at least 27 instances of fatal anti-trans violence. Like Phylicia, most of 2017’s victims were trans women of color.
Correction: In an earlier version of this story, we incorrectly stated that Phylicia Mitchell was the fourth known transgender person murdered in 2018. She is the fifth known trans murder victim this year. We apologize for the error.