In the early hours of Aug. 15, 2015, 36-year-old Tamara Dominguez was found lying in a Kansas City, Mo., parking lot, severely wounded after having been run over multiple times by a man in a pickup truck. Dominguez, a transgender Latinx woman, died from her injuries.
The man who allegedly killed her, 27-year-old Luis M. Sanchez, fled the scene and was arrested last week in Colorado. He was charged yesterday in Kansas City with first-degree murder and armed criminal action, The Associated Press reported. LGBTQ advocates were critical of the fact that Dominguez's murder has not been treated as a hate crime:
Missouri's hate crime law cover crimes committed against people because of their gender identity. The law has a broad definition of sexual orientation which includes "having a self-image or identity not traditionally associated with one's gender." The Kansas City Police Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment on why Sanchez was not charged under the state's hate crime laws.
Security footage reportedly shows Dominguez first getting into Sanchez's truck and driving a few blocks with him before opening the door and getting out, according to local news reports.
Gruesome details of what happened next emerged in witness reports to the police, KSHB 41 reported:
A witness described to police how he heard the screeching tires of an SUV or truck, saw the vehicle bump as if it was driving over the victim, stopping, then backing up over the victim, stopping and driving forward. The vehicle left the parking lot where Dominguez was later found by emergency responders, according to police.
Her DNA was found under his pickup truck.
"There's this horrible dark underbelly of hatred that goes on and on and on and on and it must stop," Caroline Gibbs, director of the Transgender Institute of Kansas City, told KCTV 5 after Dominguez's death last year.
Dominguez's murder is part of what advocates say is a national crisis of violence against trans people, particularly transgender women of color. She was one of 19 trans women of color who were killed last year according to the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Projects (NCAVP).
This year, at least 12 trans people have been killed so far, according to the NCAVP, including eight trans women of color—and that's without accounting for any transgender people who may have been among the 49 people killed in the Orlando Pulse nightclub shooting. The real number of trans people killed in the U.S. may be much higher, according to advocates, because victims are often misgendered and dead named (referring to a trans person by their name assigned at birth rather than the name and gender they identify with) by police.
"The murder of trans women, particularly trans women of color, is a real epidemic facing our nation. We demand immediate attention on both local and national levels to end this violence," Justin Shaw, Executive Director at the Kansas City Anti-Violence Project, said in a statement after Dominguez's death.
Reported homicides of all LGBTQ people rose 20% between 2014 and 2015, according to the NCAVP's latest Hate Violence Report. The number of hate violence homicides against LGBTQ people has more than doubled in the last decade.