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Trans attacks: Police investigate possible links between women's deaths in Texas

A series of assaults against transgender women in Dallas may be hate-motivated, police say

Chris Riotta
New York
Wednesday 22 May 2019 16:36 BST
Dallas police ask for information following shooting of transgender woman in Texas

Police in Texas are conducting an investigation with federal authorities into whether a series of deadly attacks on transgender women in Dallas were hate-motivated, officials said.

Investigators are probing “similarities” in three cases involving attacks against transgender women in the Dallas area, Police Major Vincent Weddington confirmed, following the shooting death of Muhlaysia Booker over the weekend.

Ms Booker had previously survived an attack last month that was caught on video and sparked national outrage. She was stabbed several times and left for dead at the time, but managed to survive. Her attackers used homophobic language throughout the assault while viciously beating her.

Police have not confirmed any links between her death and the previous attack. Ms Booker was found dead on an east Dallas street on Saturday.

The murder follows a series of assaults on transgender women in Texas and a spike in violence and transgender people nationwide. Ms Booker is the fifth transgender person killed in 2019.

In October 2018, a transgender woman was shot and killed inside of a car near the same East Dallas intersection where Ms Booker was found on Saturday.

Mr Weddington described the two other crimes involving transgender women near the intersection on Sunday, saying two victims entered a car in one case and another victim allowed someone to enter their vehicle in the other incident.

The police major also noted the local death of another transgender women in July 2017. The victim was found dead in a field, though her cause of death has not been determined.

At least 26 transgender people were killed in 2018 due to violence, with many of those deaths being black and Hispanic transgender women, according to the Human Rights Campaign.

Ms Booker became a vocal advocate for transgender rights after her previous attack went viral, saying at a rally resulting from the video recording of her assault, “This time I can stand before you whereas in other scenarios we are at a memorial.”

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Edward Thomas, a 29-year-old charged in Ms Booker’s previous attack, has been released on bail and has not been connected to her death, according to Mr Weddington.

“At this time we are unsure as of motive and no arrests have been made,” he said on Sunday. “The investigation is ongoing.”

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