Transgender women were attacked earlier this week in two separate incidents.
While Philadelphia Police Department spokesperson Lt. John Stanford said it is unclear whether the same suspect carried out both attacks, the description for the suspect in both incidents was similar.
The individual was described as a black man in his 20s with a medium build. He carried a handgun in both incidents, with the weapon being described as a black semi-automatic handgun in the first.
The earlier incident occurred Jan. 8 after the robber allegedly responded to a woman’s personal ad on classifieds-advertising website Backpage. According to Stanford, the suspect knocked on the door of a home in the Kingsessing area and asked to speak with the woman. He then stole $500 in cash from one woman and a cell phone from another woman in the residence. A third woman was also in the residence but did not have anything stolen.
All three women were transgender, Stanford said.
The suspect began to flee on foot and fired a shot once after one of the victims attempted to follow him, Stanford said.
A separate incident occurred the following night, with 19th District officers responding to a shooting on the 5400 block of Girard Avenue.
Stanford said in that case, a transgender woman placed an ad on Backpage and later allowed a man to enter her home. He attempted to rob the woman, at which time her friend, identified by Philly.com as 32-year-old Barry Jones, intervened and was shot.
After shooting Jones, the suspect allegedly robbed the woman of cash and her cell phone. Jones was pronounced dead at 10:46 p.m. at Penn Presbyterian Medical Center on Monday.
Philadelphia Director of LGBT Affairs Nellie Fitzpatrick said the public needs to “work to increase employment, health care, housing and other opportunities for trans-identified people.”
“This culminates all of the discrimination, all of the hate — all of the bias culminates to place these women in places of heightened vulnerability and danger,” she said. “Right now, we see it happening in their own homes.”
Anyone with information about these incidents are encouraged to call 215-686-TIPS.