A man who fatally shot a transgender woman in Chicago was so enraged over her identity that he returned to the scene and shot her again after she was dead, prosecutors said in court this week.
Selena Reyes-Hernandez, 37, was killed May 31 at her apartment on the city’s southwest side. Orlando Perez, 18, who lived about four blocks away from her, is charged with first-degree murder, the Chicago Tribune reports. He was arrested last Sunday and was in court Tuesday for a bond hearing.
The two met early in the morning, after Reyes-Hernandez had spent the evening attending a birthday party and visiting a friend. Security cameras showed Reyes-Hernandez and Perez arriving at the apartment building in her car about 5:30 a.m., and then Perez leaving 20 minutes later, prosecutors said in court, according to the Tribune.
“Cameras also captured him returning to the home about an hour later, this time wearing a face covering and pulling out a handgun before entering a gate,” the Tribune reports.
In a statement recorded by police detectives, Perez said he asked Reyes-Hernandez if she was female, the Chicago Sun-Times reports. When she replied that she was transgender, he left her home. But because he was “mad as hell,” prosecutors said, he returned and shot her in the head and back, and she died of those wounds.
“He thought that was enough, so he ran out. But he kept seeing her face, so he went back there to do it again,” Cook County Assistant State’s Attorney James Murphy said during the bond hearing, according to the Sun-Times. He shot her lifeless body several more times, prosecutors said.
Reyes-Hernandez is one of at least 15 trans Americans known to have died by violence in 2020. Most of them are women of color.
Judge Arthur Wesley Willis refused to free Perez on bail. The suspect’s next court date is July 6.
The Chicago Commission on Human Relations, which hears discrimination complaints and seeks to resolve tensions between various populations in the city, issued a statement on Reyes-Hernandez’s death.
“When human beings are treated as disposable, it sickens our stomachs and makes us ponder the true depths of our progress as a nation,” it reads in part. “Hate followed up by violence against anyone is wrong! Black, White, Gay, Trans, … anyone! Our sympathy to the Reyes-Hernandez family, and other families who have lost loved ones due to hate. May Selena’s tragic death not be in vain, but a call to action to fight against hate on all levels.”