DALLAS – A transsexual woman in Texas, whose violent beating was captured in a video last month, was found shot to death in Dallas, according to police.
Muhlaysia Booker, 22, was found lying on her stomach around 6:40 a.m. Saturday at the 7200 block of Valley Glen Drive, Dallas police officers said. She was declared dead at the scene.
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Authorities said on Sunday they had no clues about Booker's death. The Dallas police commander, Vincent Weddington, said during a press conference that the connection between the Booker murder and the April 12 mafia attack that was captured on video was not known.
The only suspect arrested in the previous attack had been released from jail before they found Booker dead, Weddington said. Edward Dominic Thomas, 29, is accused of aggravated assault in the beating, which according to the authorities has been pointed out as a hate crime.
Thomas's whereabouts was unknown on Sunday, Weddington said. Dallas County jail records indicated on Tuesday that Thomas had entered the facility on Monday in connection with the charge of aggravated assault against him in Booker's attack.
Abounding Prosperity, an organization that supports members of the black community in Dallas, particularly members of the LGBTQ community, described Booker in a statement as "a brave young man seeking justice for the brutal attack launched against her." Group continue to seek justice on their behalf, said the statement.
"This incidence of murdered African-American trans women has become too frequent, and should be stopped," the group statement said.
See Dallas police officers talk about the death of Muhlaysia Booker below.
Police officials declined to say whether Booker had reported receiving threats before his murder, according to The Dallas Morning News.
Booker reported on the April attack, which occurred after a fender was bent in the parking lot of an apartment complex.
Authorities said police officers went to a hospital in the Dallas area on the night of April 12 and spoke with Booker, who was taken for medical treatment after the extensive daylight attack at the Royal Crest apartments.
The news reported that an affidavit of arrest in the case indicates that Booker told investigators that he had accidentally got into a vehicle in the complex. The driver of the vehicle, who has not been charged in the case, told authorities that he took Booker off the road to prevent him from leaving the scene.
Booker told detectives that the other driver held her at gunpoint, demanding that she pay for the damage to her vehicle. The affidavit obtained by the newspaper said that when a crowd gathered, someone offered Thomas $ 200 to beat Booker.
The video of the attack shows Thomas, dressed mostly in white, putting on gloves, walking to Booker, wearing a pink wig, and punching him several times, News reported. A part of the video posted on YouTube shows him between Booker and raining blows to his face and head.
See the pictures of Booker's April 12 beating below. Warning: The video contains graphic violence and harsh language.
Another man in the video, whom The News reported had been identified but not arrested until April 15, stomps several times on Booker's face. Booker stumbles in the parking lot while trying to flee, but the man who is allegedly Thomas follows her.
Several women finally rescue a Booker and take her away. The news took Booker to a hospital, where doctors discovered he had a concussion, a broken wrist and bruises and swelling on his face.
Witnesses without a name told Booker that Thomas was the man who attacked her. An investigator who spoke with Thomas after the incident recognized him in the video, according to the affidavit.
Thomas, 29, was arrested on April 14 and charged with aggravated assault, police officials said. I could face additional charges in the incident.
Booker spoke to a crowd at a rally held in Dallas the week of the attack. She said she was grateful to have lived the test.
"This time, I can appear before you where, in other scenarios, we have a memorial," said Booker, according to CBS Dallas Fort Worth.
"This has been a difficult week for me, for the transgender community and also for the city of Dallas," Booker said as she was surrounded by supporters. "But I want to sincerely thank all of you for coming, for your support and justice."
"I will stay strong with your support."
The mayor of Dallas, Mike Rawlings, spoke after the attack on Booker.
"I am extremely angry at what appears to be mob violence against this woman," Rawlings said on his Facebook page. "Those who did this do not represent how Dallas feels about our thriving LGBTQ community. We're not going to put up with this kind of behavior. "
I am deeply saddened to know about the murder of Muhlaysia Booker. I call anyone who has information about this homicide to contact the Dallas Police Department.
– Mike Rawlings (@Mike_Rawlings) May 20, 2019
Raw tweeted on sunday that he was "deeply saddened" to learn of Booker's murder. He urged anyone with information about his killer to contact the authorities.
Gender identity is not covered by Texas hate crimes statutes, but The Washington Post reported that federal law allows prosecutors to seek tougher sanctions for violence against transgender people.
According to the Campaign for Human Rights, transgender women of color are the group most at risk of deadly violence. The majority of the 128 transgender people known to have been killed between 2013 and 2018 were female minorities.
At least 29 transgender women were killed in 2017, the highest number ever recorded, said the HRC.
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