The first victim of a mass shooter in Dayton, Ohio, was his sibling, a trans man named Jordan Cofer, according to the National Center for Transgender Equality and a report on the website Splinter.
Splinter writer Katelyn Burns concluded that Cofer was likely not targeted for his gender identity because he was not out to many, including his family. But Cofer, 22, used male pronouns and identified as trans, according to friends of his who spoke to Burns.
“Jordan was my closest friend,” an anonymous friend told Burns in a Twitter direct message. “He identified with he/him pronouns to people he trusted and knew would support him. Jordan was probably one of the sweetest people you would ever meet, a true saint, but he was also very scared constantly. He tried to give the best to everyone.”
Another friend remembered Cofer as queer but closeted in his small, conservative high school in Bellbrook, Ohio.
Social media accounts belonging to Cofer line up with details of his life already reported by the media. The Missoula Current reported that, up until July, Betts’s sibling worked as an intern for the U.S. Forest Service in Montana, specifically as a tour guide at the Missoula Smokejumper Center; a June Instagram post from @jordanseansmith107 shows Jordan highlighting the food at the tourist spot. A Tumblr account appearing to be Cofer’s described him as an “ace poly trans boy with a loving heart and way too much work to do.”
Media reports from The Missoula Current to CNN referred to Jordan as the killer’s “sister” and his birth name.
Gillian Branstetter, media relations manager for the National Center for Transgender Equality, said it was important for journalists and police to speak to murder victims’ friends and family members so the deceased are identified properly and not misgendered or dead-named.
“We are deeply saddened to hear of the loss of Jordan as well as eight others in this tragic and violent act,” Branstetter wrote in an NCTE statement sent to The Advocate. “Mass gun violence is an epidemic in this country and deserving of swift and immediate action by lawmakers at all levels of government. We join the nation in mourning for every community impacted by gun violence.”