A transgender woman was murdered
Wednesday morning in Baltimore.
According to police, Alphonza Watson,
38, was fatally shot in the early morning hours. Police arrived on
the scene at approximately 4:15 AM. Watson was transported to Johns
Hopkins Hospital, where she was pronounced dead.
Witnesses told police that they heard
cries for help followed by gunshots, and reported seeing two black
males speeding off in a dark colored vehicle.
In comments to The
Baltimore Sun, Watson's mother described her daughter as “the
sunshine of our family” and as a “caring” person who loved to
cook and tend to her garden.
According to the Human Rights Campaign
(HRC), the nation's largest LGBT rights advocate, at least six other
transgender people, all black women, have been murdered in Maryland
since 2014, four of the victims were killed in Baltimore.
“Obviously, when we are talking about
a murder of a transgender person, that's a vulnerable community that
has had some issues in the past,” police spokesman T.J. Smith told
reporters near the crime scene. Smith added that a motive has not
The murder comes as opponents of LGBT
rights push for laws that would restrict the rights of transgender
people. The debate quickly spread nationwide after North Carolina
last year became the first state to prohibit transgender people from
using the bathroom of their choice in many buildings.