Aja Raquell Rhone-SpearsPhoto: Family photo
A Black, transgender woman was murdered in Oregon as she attended a vigil for a man who had been killed several days earlier.
Aja Raquell Rhone-Spears, 33, was one of 20 to 30 people who attended a vigil in Portland on July 28 for murder victim Tyrell Penney. The vigil was held at a private residence.
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According to police, there was a fight – a “large disturbance occurred involving multiple participants” – at the vigil and two people were stabbed, including Rhone-Spears.
When Portland police showed up, they tried to take life-saving measures but she was pronounced dead at the scene. Police have not said what condition the other stabbing victim is in.
Her death has been ruled a homicide and police say that there were “multiple witnesses” but that they “encountered hostility and a lack of cooperation.”
No arrests have been made.
Her friends mourned her passing and one posted a tribute to her on Facebook.
A GoFundMe has been set up to help pay for funeral expenses, and it has raised over $2800 so far.
Police are encouraging anyone with information to contact Detective Brad Clifton at 503-823-0696 or Detective Mike Greenlee at 503-823-0871.
Penney, 27, was shot to death the prior week in the same neighborhood as the vigil was held.
At least 26 transgender and gender non-conforming people have been killed in the U.S. in 2020, according to HRC.