Three transgender women were shot in Detroit in a space of three days, one fatally. Police, who say they are reluctant to call the attacks hate crimes, are reportedly looking into a "person of interest."
There are no reports of the crimes which do not misgender the victims.
A 25-year old transgender woman was shot around 12:30am on Friday, August 15 (day possibly incorrect...conflicting accounts). The third victim, a 20-year old transgender woman, was shot around 12:30am Sunday, August 17. Both of those shootings were nonfatal and the victims have thus far chosen to withhold details of the of their attacks. All of the attacks took place in Palmer Park, a well-known gathering spot for the LGBT community.
Palmer Park is near the Ruth Ellis Center in Highland Park, which serves LGBT youth and adults.
Around 7am Friday morning Detroit police responded to a call from Palmer Park and found the body of a a transgender woman lying face up in a parking lot near the park swimming pool. The victim had suffered a fatal gunshot wound to the head. The suspected shooter fled the scene, but crashed his car before fleeing on foot. Also found at the scene of the crash was a gun.
There was a car chase as a result of the Aug. 15 fatal shooting. The officer did not know if it was connected to the homicide. The car rolled, the driver bailed and was never caught. A weapon was discovered when the car was processed.The "person of interest" seems to be the owner of the weapon. He is not in custody "at this time."
We don't know if it was connected to the shooting, but it might be.
Once we find him we will be questioning him on the other two as well.Madera said they were not labeling it a hate crime and they had not yet positively connected all three shootings.
--Officer Adam Madera
People who spend time in the area are definitely aware. I definitely think it is something that continues to be concerning.Last November a 53-year old transgender woman was shot, burned beyond recognition, and stuffed into a trashcan near Palmer Park.
--Ruth Ellis Center representative
The media has been quick to report that the area is a "red light" district but police say they have no evidence that any of the women was involved in prostitution.
An updated news story from WXYZ-TV says that police are now talking to the person of interest and that the crimes are now considered to have been committed because of the victims' gender identity, so they have been upgraded to hate crimes.
The Free Press today quoted DPD saying "the possibility that this is a hate crime is not being ruled out at this time."