A man accused of fatally stabbing a transgender woman and setting her house on fire has been charged with her death.
Kevyn Ramirez was charged with attempted first-degree robbery, two counts of arson and the murder of Victoria Ramos Gutierrez. The 29-year-old man is accused of using a knife in the crime as well as setting fire to a two-floor apartment unit using an accelerant.
According to the LA Times, Ramirez met Gutierrez online and allegedly stabbed her during a robbery and set fire to her home. Firefighters were called to the South New Hampshire residence around 3:15 a.m. and found heavy flames torching the apartment on the second floor.
It took five dozen firefighters 48 minutes to quell the flames and discover a body lying in the ruins. The body was eventually identified as Victoria Gutierrez by police. Police officers had also responded to a radio call about a fight at the housing unit around the same the firefighters responded to the fire.
A spokesperson for the Los Angeles Police Department had implored people to come forward and help them piece together the crime. Ramirez was arrested a day later and confessed to killing Gutierrez after a dispute and setting fire to her home.
Police Lt. John Radtke at a news conference revealed that investigations were still ongoing to determine if the murder was a hate crime.
However, Maria Roman a member of the TransLatin Coalition told Latina that the viciousness behind the crime showed that it was a hate crime without a shadow of a doubt.
“The brutality behind the attack that we experience, we are murdered, burned, stabbed signifies it as a hate crime.”
Gutierrez worked as a volunteer for A Day of Remembrance, an annual recognition of those killed as a result of their transgender identity. The day which is observed November 20 will sadly now have the 33-year-old added to the list.
In 2017, 28 transgender people were killed, according to a report compiled by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation and the Trans People of Color Coalition. The two groups agreed that 2017 was the most violent year on record for transgender people.
Victoria Gutierrez is the second transgender person to be killed in 2018.
The Daily Beast is reporting that the first murder took place just five days into the New Year. Christa Steele-Knudslien, a 42-year-old was beaten and stabbed to death by her husband. The 47-year-old man had then gone to a police station after killing Christa and confessed that he had done “something very bad.”
He later pleaded not guilty when he was arraigned.