July 14, 2016 at 2:40 pm EDT | by Lou Chibbaro Jr.
Transgender woman on life support since July 4 shooting dies
Deeniquia Dodds, gay news, Washington Blade

Deeniquia Dodds (Photo courtesy Facebook)

A transgender woman who was shot in the neck on July 4 in the 200 block of Division Avenue N.E. and who had been on life support at Prince George’s Hospital Center since the time of the shooting died on Wednesday, according to a D.C. police press release issued Thursday morning.

The press release marked the first time D.C. police have publicly disclosed the victim had been shot 10 days earlier. The decision not to publicly disclose the shooting at the time it happened has raised concern among trans activists.

Similar to a police incident report prepared at the time of the shooting, the press release identifies the victim by her male birth name and doesn’t disclose that she was trans. However, unlike the incident report, the press release identifies an “AKA” name [Also Known As] for the victim as Deeniqua Dodds.

The incident report says police had not identified a suspect or a motive for the attack on Dodds.

Trans activist Earline Budd, who was among those expressing concern that police had not issued a public announcement of the shooting until one day after Dodds died, initially told the Washington Blade the victim’s first name was Donita. Budd said she has been attempting to reach out to Dodds’ family members since she first learned of the shooting from a police source shortly after it occurred.

Budd disclosed on Thursday that she finally made contact with Dodds’ mother and other family members on Wednesday. She said the family members told her it was their decision to ask police not to publicly disclose that Dodds was a trans woman and that the shooting had occurred out of fear of possible reprisals from a killer who was still “on the loose,” Budd said.

According to Budd, after a lengthy conversation with her, the mother and family members are now comfortable with disclosing that Dodds was trans and had been living her life as a woman.

In yet a third version of Dodds’ first name, Budd reports after her conversation with the family members that Dodds was known as Dee Dee Dodds.

In her own press release issued Thursday, Budd announced that a vigil honoring Dodds and protesting what Budd calls the ongoing series of murders of transgender women in D.C. and throughout the nation, will be held on Saturday at 6:30 p.m. at the courtyard next to the family’s home at 5355 Clay Terrace, N.E. The location is near the site where Dodds was shot.

“The LGBTQ community encourages everyone to participate and show solidarity against hatred and violence,” Budd said in the release.

“Also, funeral arrangements are pending for the week of July 25 and notification will be made once confirmed,” she said.

The police press release says that like all unsolved homicides in the city, police are offering a $25,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person responsible for Dodds’ murder.

“Anyone with information about this case is asked to call the police at 202-727-9099,” the police press release says. “Additionally, anonymous information may be submitted to the department’s TEXT TIP LINE by text messaging 50411,” it says.

“The transgender community and other local LGBTQ organizations joins the Dodds family and friends in mourning this senseless loss,” Budd said in her release. “Ms. Dodds was a long-time consumer of several local agencies providing services to the transgender community and her murder reminds us all of how often the transgender community is targeted for violence in our society.”

Lou Chibbaro Jr. has reported on the LGBT civil rights movement and the LGBT community for more than 30 years, beginning as a freelance writer and later as a staff reporter and currently as Senior News Reporter for the Washington Blade. He has chronicled LGBT-related developments as they have touched on a wide range of social, religious, and governmental institutions, including the White House, Congress, the U.S. Supreme Court, the military, local and national law enforcement agencies and the Catholic Church. Chibbaro has reported on LGBT issues and LGBT participation in local and national elections since 1976. He has covered the AIDS epidemic since it first surfaced in the early 1980s. Follow Lou

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