16-year-old in custody after allegedly stabbing transgender woman of color in her home Sunday night
A 16-year-old boy was apprehended Monday night and is facing second-degree murder charges after officials say he allegedly stabbed a 32-year-old transgender woman to death in Wichita, Kansas on Sunday night.
As first reported by Wichita news station KAKE, police identified the victim as Tyreece “Reecey” Walker, making her at least the tenth known transgender person killed in the U.S. this alone.
Nearly every victim has been a trans person of color.
Officers were initially called to the scene after a reported disturbance at Walker’s apartment complex in southwest Wichita, at approximately 9:50 PM on Sunday. Police found Walker’s body inside the apartment, visibly impaired from knife wounds.
While circumstances surrounding her death are unclear, the Wichita police have already confirmed that they will “absolutely not” be looking to charge the alleged perpetrator with a hate crime regarding Walker’s death.
The suspect’s name has not been released due to his age, but is expected in court today or tomorrow. Member’s of the suspect’s family have told authorities that the incident occurred after Walker attempted to sexually assault the suspect, though there is no evidence at this time supporting that claim.
Friends of Walker’s have adamantly disputed this accusation as well.
“This is completely 100-percent out of character for Reece. I don’t believe it for a second. (She) wanted to get a degree in psychology or social work to try to become a counselor to help other people try to get through some of the same struggles (she) had been through,” said Walker’s friend, identified only as Victoria.
“She said a lot of people at the apartment complex or even around Wichita were constantly harassing her and just messing with her including leaving stuff by her front door,” her friend added.
While authorities may never be able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that this crime was targeted towards Walker based on her gender orientation, there is certainly a compelling reason to believe it is the likely reason.
A national report issued in 2013 on hate violence against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and HIV affected communities by the National Coalition of Anti-Violence found that 72% of hate violence homicides involved transgender women, that trans people were 3.7 times more likely to experience police violence, and that transgender women were 1.8 times more likely to experience sexual violence.
Since that time, things have gotten worse. In 2015, there was a considerable portion of the year where transgender women of color were being killed at a rate of almost one per week.
This year, Walker is at least the tenth known transgender person killed in the U.S.
A GoFundMe page has been set up by friends to help Walker’s family with funeral costs.