Itali Marlowe, a Black trans woman, was murdered in Houston, becoming at least the 19th trans person to die by violence in the nation this year.
Houston police Thursday released details in the death of 29-year-old Marlowe. Houston homicide detectives say police responded to calls about a shooting on Ridgeroe Lane September 20 and found Marlowe in the driveway.
She had been shot multiple times and was transported to an area hospital, where she was pronounced dead. Witnesses reported hearing multiple gunshots coming from around the home where Marlowe was found.
Police named Raymond Donald Williams, 23, as their suspect in the shooting. The Fort Bend District Attorney’s Office has charged Williams with murder but say the suspect remains at large.
Police say Williams was living with Marlowe and reportedly fled the scene of the shooting on foot before officers arrived. Police encouraged anyone with information about the shooting or Williams’s whereabouts to call the Homicide Division at (713) 308-3600 or Crime Stoppers at (713) 222-TIPS.
The murder makes Marlowe at least the 19th trans person murdered in the United States in 2019 so far. All but one of those victims has been a trans woman of color.
The Human Rights Campaign said Marlowe is at least the fourth trans person killed in Texas this year. HRC said she’s also the 13th to die in an act of gun violence, and that two-thirds of trans individuals murdered since 2013 have fallen into that category.
Houston in particular has seen its trans population victimized by violence.
“There are currently very few explicit legal protections for transgender or gender-expansive people. Transgender people in Houston are not explicitly protected across many aspects of daily life, including housing and employment, and they are not covered under the state’s hate crimes legislation,” a statement from the Human Rights Campaign read.
Tracy Single, the 16th trans American killed this year, also was found dead in Houston. Police ultimately charged her romantic partner, Joshua Dominic Bourgeois, in the 22-year-old’s murder.
And another woman, Candice Elise Pinky, was shot in Houston in January but survived. A trans woman, Shante Isaac, and her friend were killed in Houston in the spring of 2016.
The other trans women killed this year in Texas, Muhlaysia Booker and Chynal Lindsey, were both murdered in Dallas. Another trans woman, Daniela Calderon, survived a shooting in Dallas last month.
“This epidemic of violence that disproportionately targets transgender people of color — particularly Black transgender women — must cease,” concludes the statement from HRC.
Constant reports of violence against our community are difficult to read, especially as we continue to face historic rates. If you or someone you know is experiencing violence, you can reach out to the Anti-Violence Project’s free bilingual (English/Spanish) national hotline at (212) 714-1141 or report online for support.