Transgender woman killed in L.A. as she pounded on door for help

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A 21-year-old Los Angeles woman was shot and killed early Wednesday morning while she pounded on the front door of a South L.A. home begging for help. Officers say they found Deshawnda Sanchez "on the front porch of the residence, suffering from an apparent gunshot wound."

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Officers arrived on the scene around 4 a.m., responding to a 911 call reporting a robbery in progress. Los Angeles Fire Department paramedics later pronounced the victim dead at scene.

“Deshawnda is a transgender female,” LAPD Detective Christopher Barling told KTLA. “At this point we cannot say it’s a hate crime, but we have not ruled out that as being a possibility.”

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LAPD investigators say they don’t have any “suspect descriptions” at the moment. Police said video surveillance from a neighboring home captured the shooting; the footage reportedly shows a man exiting a car, approaching the porch, then running back to the car and driving away.

Sanchez is the third transgender woman killed in Los Angeles this year. Police have only been able to identify a suspect in one of those cases so far.

LGBT advocates say these statistics demonstrate that transgender women’s lives aren’t being valued enough.

“There’s this sense that people who don’t fit in to the expectation of traditional gender roles are less valued,” said Christopher Argyros, manager of the anti-violence project at the Los Angeles LGBT Center.

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Argyros said transgender women of color are disproportionately affected by violent attacks.

In 2013, Los Angeles saw the lowest number of hate crimes reported in 24 years. But the story is much different for hate crimes against members of the transgender community.

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The number of reported hate crimes against transgender people in L.A. jumped by nearly 46 percent last year, according to the hate-crime statistics released in October by the Los Angeles County Commission on Human Relations.

In June, Anaheim police found the body of Zoraida “Ale” Reyes, 28, in the parking lot of a Dairy Queen. In October, Aniya Knee Parker, 47, was fatally shot in the middle of Melrose Ave in Hollywood.

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Police charged Randy Lee Parkerson of Anaheim with one felony count for strangling Reyes to death. The other two cases are unresolved.

Members of the trans community will host a vigil Friday evening near the site where Sanchez was killed. Organizers say they’re gathering “to demand an end to violence against Trans people and justice for Deshawnda Sanchez.”

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