Just two weeks after trans woman Lashai Mclean was shot and killed in northeast Washington, D.C., another trans-related shooting happened Sunday, July 31 near the same location, according to this report in the Metro Weekly.
Tonya Harrell, also a trans woman, was shot at by a “black male, 17-19 years old,” but was uninjured.
The suspect approached Harrell on the street at approximately 2:45 a.m. Sunday and demanded change, according to police reports. Police reports say that without waiting for her to reply, the man shot at her with a semi-automatic handgun. Fortunately, the suspect missed and Harrell was not injured.
”Both cases involved transgender victims,” according to the MPD press release referenced by the Metro Weekly report, referring to the murder of Mclean and the attack on McLean. “Due to the similarities of the victims’ sexual self-identification, M.O., locations, and lookout for suspects, the cases are being investigated as a potential emerging pattern.”
The MPD press release adds that the Sixth District is working with the Gay and Lesbian Liaison Unit, as well as Transgender Health Empowerment (THE) and the Prince George’s County Police Department to ”enhance patrol efforts in the area” where the near-identical shootings happened.
The suspects in Mclean’s murder were described as “two black males,” who remain at large. Could this be a pattern of hate crimes or just an unfortunate coincidence?
MPD Deputy Chief Diane Groomes said that while she can’t confirm the shooting is related to the July 20 killing of Mclean, the circumstances are ”identical.”