Three Black Trans Women Die in First Week of July

Bree Black
Bree Black was just 27 years old when she was found dead with gunshot wounds in Pompano Beach, Florida, on July 3.
Facebook/ Bree Black

Three more Black transgender women across two different states were found dead in the first week of the month after at least two other trans individuals were murdered in other parts of the country to close out the month of June, marking the latest in a serious rash of deadly violence targeting Black transgender woman in the United States.

Two women — Draya McCarty and Shakie Peters — were found dead in Louisiana, while 27-year-old Bree Black was killed in Pompano Beach, Florida, in a series of cases that have emerged this month. Those cases follow the shooting death of Merci Mack in Dallas on June 30 and the murder of Brayla Stone near Little Rock, Arkansas, on June 25. It was also revealed last month that Kristian Rouse, an 18-year-old Black transgender man, was beaten at his own apartment in May and was forced to spend approximately a month on a ventilator. He has a long recovery ahead of him.

A spokesperson representing the St. Helena Parish Sheriff’s Office told Gay City News that Peters, 32, was found dead with gunshot wounds at around 2:15 p.m. on July 1 on Opal Bennett Road near Amite City, Louisiana, which is approximately an hour east of Baton Rouge by car. A person of interest in that case is being questioned, according to police, but no arrests have been made.

The police spokesperson would not refer to Peters by her first name, but Dylan Waguestack, who serves as the president of the board of Louisiana Trans Advocates, told Gay City News that Peters identified as a transgender woman.

There are far fewer details surrounding McCarty’s death, however. Waguestack said McCarty died in Baton Rouge, and news reports back that up, but multiple phone calls to police in that area went unanswered and information remains scarce.

“We’ve heard [McCarty died] both in a motel and an apartment; we’re not sure what’s accurate,” Waguestack told Gay City News. “The thing that seems to be the barrier to information in Draya’s case is it does not seem to be ruled a homicide at this time. I don’t know that it has been ruled anything at this time, but it’s our understanding that the family has very little luck getting info about the circumstances about her death from Baton Rouge Police Department.”

Waguestack also pointed to what he described as “very severe” history of deadly violence against transgender folks in the state throughout the last 10 years.

“Until about two years ago, Louisiana accounted for one in 10 of every murder of trans people we knew of, and that’s really jarring because Louisiana only holds one percent of the US population,” Waguestack said.

Meanwhile, the Broward County Sheriff’s Office did not immediately return requests for information about Black’s death, but the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reported that she was found dead with gunshot wounds on July 3 at around 10 p.m. at the 200 Block of Northwest 12th Street in Pompano Beach. The Miami Herald also reported Police are still searching for suspects in that case.

Among the cases that emerged last month, police announced the arrest of an 18-year-old in connection to Stone’s death in Sherwood, which is the area near Little Rock in Arkansas. Trevone Miller, 18, was arrested on July 2 and charged with capital murder. There does not appear to be any updates in Mack’s case.

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