A 47-year-old transgender woman, Aniya Parker, was shot fatally last week in East Hollywood, Los Angeles, by three unidentified males. While the Los Angeles Police Department is offering a $50,000 reward for information that leads to the arrest of her murderers, police are not convinced the woman died from an anti-transgender crime; they believe that Parker was actually the victim of a street robbery turned violent, reported The Los Angeles Times.
However, LAPD’s theory is disputed by some members of Los Angeles’ transgender community. Marie Zeiser, a local transgender Hollywood resident, told ABC 7 that details of the case convince her the attack on Aniya had transphobic motivations.
“This was not a robbery: In fact, they left the purse behind. This is a cold-blooded hate crime, and this kind of violence needs to end. “
Surveillance cameras were able to capture the entire incident on film, though there is no sound to confirm or deny if Parker’s attackers were even aware that she was transgender. In the footage, Parker pauses after the group of men appear to yell something at her. The men then surround Aniya and make a grab for her purse, followed by one of the men punching her violently in the face. Parker then begins to make a run for it — unsuccessfully. One of them fires a shot that reports say struck the transgender woman directly in the head. Aniya did not succumb to the injury immediately, but instead limps across the street where she sits down on the curb, relaxes for a moment, then drops dead.
Members of the Los Angeles transgender community were shaken by the horrific murder of their friend. Kerri Secil and other transgender residents held a vigil for Parker, where Secil told ABC 7 that the attack had put the whole trans community on edge, as well as everyone else if the motive turns out to robbery — Aniya’s purse contained on $26 when it recovered from the scene of the crime.
“I can’t even come home late from work or something with the risk of, you know, being shot in my head brutally for my purse or whatever the case of it may be. It terrifies me.”
Parker’s sister told LA Weekly that the family is grieving, but are hopeful that her murderers will be brought to justice. The family is currently hosting a GoFundMe.com campaign in order to raise funds for her funeral, said Aniya’s sister. The family has not yet commented on whether or not they believe the attack was because Parker was transgender.
“We are hoping the three individuals who are responsible for this senseless crime are apprehended swiftly.”
Do you think this transgender woman’s murder was a hate crime?
[Image via GoFundMe]