Transgender Woman Murdered in Oakland

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Nikai David, 33, was fatally shot on December 4.
Human Rights Campaign

A Black transgender woman who was fatally shot in Oakland on December 3 became the 50th known transgender murder victim in the US this year.

Nikai David, 33, was found dead with gunshot wounds at the 1400 Block of Castro Street in Oakland just after 4 a.m. on Friday morning, an Oakland Police Department spokesperson told Gay City News on December 9.

Police in Oakland said the fatal shooting marked the 129th homicide of the year. The Bay Area Reporter, an LGBTQ newspaper serving the San Francisco Bay Area, reported that the murder came just days after a gay man, Marco Chavez, survived a shooting at his home in West Oakland. Chavez was with his husband and children when the family’s home was peppered with gunfire.

Oakland LGBTQ Community Center employee Ashlee Banks knew David and told Fox 2 KTVU that there may have been “some type of physical altercation” that led to the fatal shooting. Banks did not immediately respond to Gay City News’ request for comment on December 9.

In a written statement posted on Facebook, the Oakland LGBTQ Community Center wrote, “We mourn the loss of Nikai David, a beloved community member and Black transgender woman… 2021 has been the deadliest year for transgender individuals, particularly Black transgender women who make up the majority of transgender homicides year after year. Right now everyone at the Center is pretty shaken up.”

At least three transgender or non-binary individuals have suffered violent deaths in California this year. In May, Poe Black, a 21-year-old trans man, was killed in Niland, California, while 24-year-old Natalia Smut was murdered in April. This year has already surpassed 2020 as the most deadly year for transgender or non-binary individuals in the United States since the Human Rights Campaign first started tallying the deaths in 2013.

“I am heartbroken to hear about the killing of Nikai,” Victoria Kirby York, the deputy executive director of the National Black Justice Coalition, said in a written statement. “At least 50 trans, non-binary, or gender non-conforming people have been killed this year, and we still have three weeks left in the year. My hope for 2022 is that people will start giving this epidemic the attention it desperately needs to stop it. We have lost too many siblings, and we will continue to lose more if action is not taken. Everyone deserves to live without the fear of violence because of their identity. Everyone deserves to feel protected. All of us must stand with the transgender community, listen to their needs, and respond to those needs in whatever way we can.”