Tiara Banks, a Black transgender woman, has been shot to death aged 24.
Banks was killed in the West Pullman neighbourhood of Chicago on Wednesday (21 April), the Human Rights Campaign said. Her tragic death is at least the 16th known violent killing of a transgender or gender non-conforming person in the US this year.
According to a local news report, Banks was sitting alone in her Ford Fusion when the shooter approached the vehicle and fired at her multiple times. She was pronounced dead at the scene.
Chicago police are investigating whether Banks’s gender identity was a factor in her death, local TV station WGN said.
WGN was among the first to report on the crime but initially did not give Banks’ name; her identity was later confirmed by the Chicago LGBT+ health organisation Howard Brown Health in a Facebook post.
The post also calls for an end to transphobic violence which has killed three trans women in Chicago in the last four months.
We are experiencing an epidemic of anti-trans violence, especially violence against Black transgender women, that has been at crisis levels for far too long in this country,” representatives from the group said.
“We are seeing this epidemic of transgender hate reflected in the surge of anti-trans legislation introduced in states across the country, and we are feeling the effects of anti-trans hate in the loss of yet another member of the transgender community here in Chicago.”
Tori Cooper, director of community engagement for HRC’s Transgender Justice Initiative, added her voice to the growing concern.
“Losing yet another member of our community to senseless acts of violence against transgender people, particularly Black transgender women, is both painful and incredibly frustrating,” she said.
“At just 24 years old, Tiara had her whole entire life ahead of her and, instead, we are remembering her because of the ongoing fatal violence against transgender people.
“We must continue to urge everyone to call an end to the alarming rate of fatal trans violence.”