Trans woman remembered; killer still at-large

Trans woman remembered; killer still at-large

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The Hunting Park and Germantown communities planned to memorialize one of their own this week, while a national LGBT-rights organization and a statewide anti-violence group called out yet another murder of a trans woman of color in a growing epidemic.

Shantee Tucker was shot to death early Sept. 5 on the 4300 block of Old York Road. Witnesses said the victim had been involved in a brief argument around 1 a.m. with the driver of a black pickup truck, who then fired eight shots. One hit Tucker in the back.

Police transported her to Temple University Hospital, where she was pronounced dead about four hours later, said Captain John Ryan of the Police Homicide Division in a press conference later that day.

Tucker, 30, resided in nearby Germantown. Police don’t believe she was targeted for her gender identity, Ryan said; however, the motive remained unknown and the killer was still at large as of Wednesday.

A candlelight march and call-to-action demonstration for Tucker was planned for Sept. 12 at Old York Road and Hunting Park Avenue.

“We’re demanding justice for Shantee,” said Tatyana Woodard, a longtime friend of the victim who helped organize the event, which was scheduled to begin after press time. “We encourage everyone to come out and stand with us as we ask Philadelphia police and the neighborhood to start standing up for our girls.”

Woodard described Tucker as someone who would intercede on another’s behalf.

“She was a strong person, a friendly person. Very loving. Always quick to defend others. She never liked to see anyone get bullied. She was a peacemaker.”

The Human Rights Campaign, a national LGBT advocacy group, issued a statement decrying Tucker’s death and noting the growing incidence of violence against trans individuals.

In the United States so far this year, 19 known transgender individuals were fatally shot or killed by other violent means, with trans women of color disproportionately targeted, according to the HRC.

“Violence against transgender people, particularly against trans women of color, is an epidemic that urgently needs to be addressed by our communities, elected officials and institutions,” the statement said.

Michael Cogbill, community organizer for gun-violence-prevention group CeaseFirePA, said more action is needed at the highest levels.

“Tucker’s death is a reminder that we’re facing a serious issue of the increasingly concerning number of trans women of color being murdered. No one seems to be doing anything to address this fatal reality on a national level,” he said. “We must continue the fight in protecting and speaking up for this vulnerable community.”

In Philadelphia, Tucker is one of more than a half-dozen known transgender women of color to be violently killed in recent years. While there have been arrests and convictions in the murders of Londyn Kiki Chanel, Maya Young and Diamond Williams, the cases of victims Nizah Morris, Kyra Cordova, Stacey Blahnik and Keisha Jenkins remain unsolved.

Meanwhile, mourners have flooded Tucker’s Facebook page with messages of sympathy.       

“I’m going to miss you so much,” said one post. “This really hurts. Rest well.”

Someone else posted, “Enjoy paradise. This world didn’t deserve you. Trust and believe we will continue to speak your name.” 

To report information about this incident, call the Police Homicide Division at 215-686-3334.

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