A 20-year-old man arrested last week for allegedly shooting a transgender woman in Southeast D.C. solicited the woman for sex and attempted to rob her at gunpoint before shooting her in the neck as she sat in her car, according to a police arrest affidavit.
The affidavit, filed last week in D.C. Superior Court, says the woman drove herself to the Seventh District police station to seek help. It says police immediately called an ambulance, which rushed her to a local hospital.
While doctors stabilized her condition in the emergency room, the woman gave police information that led to the arrest of Darryl Willard on Sept. 23, one day after the 2 a.m. shooting took place, the affidavit says.
Police charged Willard with assault with attempt to kill after he surrendered at the First District police station. He’s being held in jail pending a court hearing scheduled for Sept. 23.
The incident was the fourth reported shooting or attempted shooting of a transgender woman in D.C. since July. Lashai Mclean, a 23-year-old transgender woman, died from gunshot wounds in the first of the shooting incidents on July 20.
The latest incident last week prompted transgender activist Ruby Corado to state at a news conference that these and other assaults against transgender women earlier this year have left the D.C. trans community in crisis.
The police affidavit for the Sept. 22 shooting case says the incident began when the victim picked up Willard in her car shortly before 2 a.m. at 22nd and Savannah streets, S.E. It says the woman told police she has known Willard for two and a half years and that he has paid her for sex in the past.
It says Willard’s request for oral sex came while the woman and Willard “drove around the area for approximately 15 minutes” before she stopped her car at 23rd and Savannah streets, S.E. to allow him to get out. It says the woman refused to give Willard her money. It says he then shot her “from very close range,” with a bullet striking her in the right side of her neck.
Transgender activist Earline Budd says the woman was in the hospital this week in stable condition.
At last week’s news conference, held outside D.C. police headquarters, Budd said the fact that some of the transgender women targeted in recent assaults and shootings have been involved in prostitution highlights societal prejudice and discrimination that has prevented many transgender women from finding work outside the sex industry.
“It’s out of necessity and out of survival,” she said. “It’s not that we want to be in prostitution.”
Budd said she was hopeful that a pilot jobs program initiated by D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray that reaches out to unemployed transgender people will result in job opportunities that won’t make it necessary for some trans women to turn to prostitution. The first group of transgender clients enrolled in the program began their training sessions last week.