The Philadelphia Police Department is asking the public for help in bringing the murderers of Keisha Jenkins to justice.
According to reports, officers were called in to check on an alleged robbery in progress and a possible shooting at around 2:30am on Tuesday. When they arrived, the officers found Jenkins on the ground and immediately took her to the Einstein Medical Center, but she was pronounced dead a few minutes later.
According to Officer Tanya Little, spokesperson for the police department’s Office of Public Affairs, 22-year-old Jenkins was dropped off by a still unidentified individual at 13th and Wingohocking Streets at around 2:30 am. Moments later, Jenkins, a trans woman, was approached and surrounded by five to six men who proceeded to beat her up. One of the men pulled out a gun and shot her in the back.
The Philadelphia native was pronounced dead at around 2:53 am.
Little emphasized that the Philadelphia Police Department “will leave no stone unturned” in their investigation of the killing. This was reiterated by homicide Captain James Clark, who promised the Jenkins family that the department will do everything they can to find her killers.
The police have not determined a motive for the killing at this time and stated that it’s too soon to say whether this was a robbery gone bad or a hate crime. Investigators say they do not believe the Temple University student knew her attackers nor had any previous contact with them. However, they are also looking into the possibility that Jenkins’ sexual identity might have been a reason for the attack.
“The victim’s gender is definitely something that investigators are looking into and we will consider her identity under the umbrella of all motives,” Little stated. “We are canvassing the area where the homicide occurred for witnesses and investigators, hoping to examine available surveillance videos.”
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Police officers are also working with the 25th District, where the attack happened, to cross-reference whether there were precedents. It’s been reported that the police are also looking for the driver of the car Jenkins was in before she was killed. She was dropped off in a place far from her home and the car wasn’t at the crime scene, either. But what makes the case more frustrating is that there’s no description of the driver or the vehicle.
Jenkins’s death comes on the heels of another murder, that of fellow Philadelphian London Banks. The 21-year-old Banks, who also goes by the moniker Londyn Chanel, is also a black trans woman. She was found on May 18 near an empty house in North Philadelphia. She was stabbed twice by Raheam Felton during a heated argument. He is currently awaiting trial for Chanel’s murder.
This latest attack on a trans woman also comes less than two months after reports were confirmed that three other black trans women had been killed. More alarmingly, Jenkins’ death raises to 20 the number of trans women who have reportedly been murdered in the US this year, underlining what transgender advocates say is a rising “epidemic” of violence against transgenders.
Jenkins’ death has been described as “a tremendous and tragic loss for the entire city, our LGBT community, and, more specifically, our trans community” by the Mayor’s LGBT liaison, Nellie Fitzpatrick. She added that the “inhumane violence” done to the young woman has no place in the community.
The Philadelphia police do not have any information regarding the suspects and no arrests have been made yet. However, they are asking for the community’s help in obtaining relevant information. Anyone with information to share with regard to Jenkins’ murder is encouraged to call the department’s tip line at 215-686-TIPS or the homicide unit at 215-686-3334.
[Images via Youtube]