HRC was saddened and horrified to learn that Jazz, a 30-year-old transgender woman from North Carolina, was killed in Birmingham, Alabama on September 23.
Jazz’s body was found in a room at the King’s Inn Motel, where she had been shot to death. AL.com reported that police are questioning a person of interest in the shooting. That person was detained in connection with a second attack on a transgender woman, which took place at an Eastern Birmingham home on October 3. That second victim was shot in the head and sustained life-threatening injuries, according to WALB News 10. Her boyfriend told police that he saw and recognized the attacker.
Jazz’s sister, Toya Milan, called her death “a huge hit for the LGBT community.” Jazz was “such a loving person,” she told AL.com, and said she “didn’t know anybody that would want to hurt her.” In response to both shootings, Central Alabama Pride will hold an anti-violence rally on Friday evening in Birmingham’s Kelly Ingram Park.
Jazz is at least the 20th transgender person murdered in the U.S. this year, compared to 19 by this date in 2015. That year’s reported total of 21 was believed to be the largest ever recorded, suggesting both a shocking rate of violence and increased reporting. This year, 13 of the victims—including Jazz—have been black transgender women. More than half of all the victims have died by gun violence.
HRC extends its sincere condolences to Jazz’s family and friends, and holds the second Birmingham victim in our thoughts.