Tonya Harvey, a 35-year-old trans woman, was shot and killed in Buffalo, New York, on Tuesday. She is the third known trans person to be killed this year, according to GLAAD.
The Buffalo News first reported the shooting, which occurred on Shepard Street, on Tuesday. Police initially identified the victim as male, but the newspaper correctly identified the victim as Tonya Harvey in a new report published Thursday.
Kait Munro, a spokeswoman for the Erie County District Attorney office, told HuffPost they have not released the victim’s name.
Munro could confirm there is an ongoing investigation into the death of a transgender woman killed this week. Officials are looking into the killing as a possible hate crime.
“The Erie County District Attorney’s Office, along with Buffalo Police, is investigating the death of a transgender woman killed on Shepard Street,” the spokeswoman said in a press statement sent to HuffPost. “The DA’s Office is also extremely concerned about a spike in homicides of transgender people across the country and will be, as part of this investigation, looking into whether or not this is a potential hate crime.”
Buffalo Police spokesman Michael J. De George told The Buffalo News the victim was shot just before 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday and declared dead at the scene. It was the city’s first confirmed homicide of the year. De George did not immediately respond to HuffPost’s request for comment.
GLAAD updated its list of transgender people killed this year on Thursday, adding Harvey along with other known trans deaths from 2018: 42-year-old Christa Leigh Steele-Knudslien, who was killed on Jan. 5 in Massachusetts, and Viccky Gutierrez, who was killed on Jan. 10 in Los Angeles, CA.
At least 26 transgender people were killed in the United States in 2017, and almost all of the victims were trans women of color, according to GLAAD.