Michelle “Tamika” Washington, 40, is the fifth transgender person killed in 2019, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) reports. A longtime trans-rights advocate, Washington was fatally shot Sunday in North Philadelphia.
According to CBS, officers discovered Washington’s body around 5 a.m. with multiple gunshot wounds to her head and body. She was transported to Temple University Hospital, where she was pronounced dead.
Troy Bailey, 28, was arrested and charged with murder in connection with the shooting, Philly.com reports. Prior to Bailey’s arrest, Police Sgt. Eric Gripp said Washington’s homicide might be connected to a robbery.
Amber Hikes, executive director of Philadelphia’s Office of LGBT Affairs, released a statement about Washington’s death. “I am devastated by the senseless murder of yet another one of our trans sisters. Tamika was a brilliant and outgoing member of Philadelphia’s transgender community, known for her advocacy and mentorship, and she will be profoundly missed,” she said. “The epidemic of violence that continues to plague the transgender community—disproportionately impacting trans women of color—is heartbreaking, frightening, and infuriating.”
Raquel Evita Sarawati, chair of Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenny’s Commission on LGBT affairs, expressed condolences as well. “The news of the murder and death of Michelle ‘Tamika’ Washington has hit so many in our community hard. More than a news story, she was a friend, a loved one, a beloved. The Mayor’s Commission on LGBT Affairs offers our solidarity, our commitment to #SayHerName, and a commitment to ending the plague of anti-black, anti-trans, and queerphobic violence that plagues not just our nation, but our own local community,” Evans said. “Our community is nothing without black trans women, and we will mourn the loss of Michelle ‘Tamika’ Washington today and in the years to come. We pledge to not let her loss be in vain, and to stand with those who both endure and combat this violence on a daily basis.”
According to HRC, four other transgender people were fatally shot or killed by other violent means in 2019.
On Jan. 6, Dana Martin, 31, was fatally shot in Montgomery, Alabama.
Ashanti Carmon, 27, was shot and killed in Prince George’s County, Maryland, on March 30.
Claire Legato, 21, was shot in the head on April 15 in Cleveland. According to Cleveland.com, Legato was shot and killed by John Booth, 61, following a dispute over tax return checks. Booth was charged with felonious assault in connection with the shooting.
As EBONY previously reported, Muhlaysia Booker, 23, was fatally shot in Dallas a little more than a month after she was attacked in an “act of mob violence.”
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Jasmine Washington is a beauty-obsessed journalist by day and a trap music connoisseur by night. A lifelong New Yorker, she got her start as an intern at the now-defunct Juicy Magazine. Jasmine joined the EBONY.com team as a writer, penning daily stories on all things Black culture and entertainment.