An unidentified suspect fired a semi-automatic handgun at a transgender woman at 2:45 a.m. on Sunday, July 31, just one block from the site where a transgender woman was shot to death less than two weeks earlier, D.C. police announced on Tuesday.
Police said the suspect missed hitting the victim in the latest case. But they said that since transgender women were the target in both incidents, “the cases are being investigated as a potential emerging pattern” of crimes against the transgender community.
“The victim was in the 6200 block of Dix Street, N.E., when a suspect approached on foot,” a police statement says in describing the shooting on Sunday. “The suspect asked for change and without waiting for a reply pulled a semi-automatic handgun and shot at the victim, without hitting the victim.”
The statement describes the suspect as a black male, 17 to 19 years of age, about 5 feet 6 inches tall and weighing about 180 pounds, with a dark complexion. It says detectives from the Sixth District are investigating the case.
The latest incident follows the July 20 shooting death of transgender woman Lashai Mclean, 23, who was attacked on the 6100 block of Dix Street, N.E. at about 4:30 a.m.
Police say they have yet to identify a suspect or motive in that case. However, in the statement released Tuesday about the shooting of the second transgender woman, police for the first time provided a description of two unidentified suspects in the Mclean case.
“The suspects are described as two black males in their late teens to early 20s,” the police statement says. “The first suspect is described as being 6-feet-tall with a thin build and light complexion,” it says. “The shooter is described as being shorter and having a darker complexion than the other suspect.”
The statement adds that the shooter “started asking a question, and without provocation” pulled out a handgun and fired, killing Mclean.
Officials with the D.C. group Transgender Health Empowerment, which had provided assistance to Mclean, said a transgender woman was with Mclean at the time of the shooting. The T.H.E. officials have said the woman, whose identity is being withheld, was cooperating with police in the investigation.
Police and residents living near the 6100 block of Dix Street, N.E., have said the area is a well-known night time meeting place for male-to-female transgender prostitutes and the male clients who seek their services. Transgender activists have said transgender women also socialize in that area and not all trans woman hanging out there are prostitutes.
The 6100 block of Dix Street is located less than two blocks from Eastern Avenue, which serves as the border line between D.C. and Prince George’s County, Md. Authorities have said that section of Eastern Avenue is also known as a night time gathering place for transgender sex workers.
“The Metropolitan Police Department’s Sixth District, the Gay and Lesbian Liaison Unit (GLLU), and Prince George’s County Police Department have teamed together to enhance patrol efforts in the area where the crimes have occurred,” the police statement says. “The GLLU is focusing on making contact with people in the area. We will ensure that flyers are distributed on both crimes.”
The statement says D.C. police are also enlisting the support of community groups such as T.H.E. and other members of the transgender community to distribute safety messages to those who hang out in that location.
“Do not walk alone,” says one of the messages. The other says, “Report suspicious persons and activities immediately to us.”
Anyone with information about the Mclean murder or the latest shooting attack along the 6200 block of Dix Street, N.E., is asked to call D.C. police at 202-727-9099 or 1-888-919-CRIME.
The department offers a reward of $25,000 to anyone who provides information leading to the arrest and conviction of a person or persons wanted for any homicide committed in D.C.