Fifty BandzPhoto: Facebook
A man has been arrested in connection to the shooting death of 21-year-old transgender woman Fifty Bandz earlier this month.
The Baton Rouge Police Department believes that Michael Joshua Brooks, 20, was in a relationship with the victim for at least a year before he shot her, fatally wounding her. He was arrested earlier this week.
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People who knew the couple said that their relationship was “very volatile,” according to police records reviewed by The Advocate, a Louisiana newspaper.
They said that Brooks would hide their relationship and that his reticence to let others know they were together “had caused personal problems.”
This past summer, Bandz posted a video of them together on social media, and Brooks threatened to kill her. The two broke up last month.
Police believe that on January 28, Bandz returned a cell phone to Brooks in front of his new girlfriend and brother, and he got angry with her. Witnesses said they fought over the phone afterwards and that she borrowed someone’s car to go pick up the phone.
On the way over, she called a friend and put them on hold. She never finished the call.
At 11 p.m. that night, she was found dead inside the car with multiple gunshot wounds.
Friends held a memorial for her on Facebook on February 1, according to HRC.
“In just one month, multiple transgender or gender non-conforming people have been killed, four of whom were Black trans women. This level of violence is infuriating and heartbreaking,” said HRC’s Tori Cooper. “This is an epidemic of violence that must be stopped. We will continue to affirm that Black Trans Lives Matter and say the names of those we have lost, including Fifty Bandz, but we must do more.”
“Fifty was killed by someone she knew – if we can’t trust the people we know, who can we trust? We need everyone to take action to bring this horrific violence to an end.”