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Watch: Trans Woman Chae'Meshia Simms Shot, Killed in Va.

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Wednesday December 2, 2020

Family and friends are grieving Chae'Meshia Simms, a transgender woman who was shot and killed in Richmond, Virginia, in her mother's rental car on Nov. 23 - just after the end of Transgender Awareness Week, and only a few days after the Transgender Day of Remembrance, which memorializes victims of anti-trans violence.

Authorities were alerted to a car crash that took place in the city at about 6:00 that morning, reported local CBS WTVR. Responders found Simms dead in the driver's seat with a gunshot wound, the story said.

She had been driving home in her mother's rental car when she was shot, news sources said.

Police are investigating Simms' death as a homicide. No suspects are in custody or have been identified yet. No motive for the killing is known at this time, the news station said.

Friends and family turned out in force to memorialize Simms on the evening of Nov. 27, the news station reported. Simms' father swore to the news crew that they would "never stop looking" for the perpetrator.

"With the help of the LGBT community, the support of the Richmond Police Department, as you can see out here with the community, we're going to continue to keep looking," he vowed.

He also encouraged the killer to step forward and take responsibility for the crime. "I ask 'em to turn yourself in," he told WTVR.

Local equality advocate Zakia McKensey spoke with the media about the ongoing epidemic of deadly anti-trans violence that has shattered records in 2020 after a steady year-by-year increase.

"As a trans woman of color I know most well how we are disproportionately impacted and marginalized," McKensey told the news station adding: "When will I stop seeing news feeds or news threads or stories about trans women being brutally murdered?"

The Human Rights Campaign, which tracks incidents of deadly anti-trans violence, reported that Simm's killing "is believed to be at least the 39th violent death of a transgender or gender non-conforming person this year in the U.S.

"We say 'at least' because too often these deaths go unreported — or misreported," the HRC noted.

That was not the case for Simms. Not only did her family and community acknowledge who she was, but her obituary also reflected the authenticity of her life.

Watch the WTVR news clip, below.

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.

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