Police Make Arrests Following Shooting Deaths Of Two Transgender Women In Charlotte
Updated at 6 p.m.
The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police have arrested and charged two suspects in the shooting deaths of two transgender women found in Charlotte hotel rooms this month.
Jaida Peterson's body was found on Easter Sunday at the Quality Inn hotel on Queen City Drive. She is a Black transgender woman and sex worker, according to the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department.
The other victim Remy Fennell, also a Black transgender woman and sex worker, was found early Thursday morning at the Sleep Inn University Place hotel in Charlotte.
In a Friday afternoon press conference, a CMPD spokesperson said the department is confident there is no one else at large involved in the events. The investigation into motivation remains active and ongoing, CMPD says.
Human Rights Campaign — which advocates for the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people — says that Jaida Peterson is at least the 14th transgender person killed nationwide since the start of the year, making Remy Fennell at least the 15th. The deaths of transgender individuals often go unreported or misreported, HRC said.
HRC says that murders of transgender people are on the rise. Black transgender women are especially at risk and are murdered disproportionately because of each of their identities.
Nearly 50 people recently attended a vigil for Peterson. Many of them knew her from her home state of South Carolina or from her time in Charlotte.
“People just find it easier to kill us because socially, we’re at the bottom of the totem pole,” friend Brianna Battle said. “No matter what her gender was, a human life was taken away. She has a family and friends and people who love her.”
Jaida Peterson’s family and friends have been remembering her on social media, with her sister sharing, “You are going to be truly missed and once again we love you always.”— Human Rights Campaign (@HRC) April 16, 2021
A Black trans woman, Jaida was killed on April 4 in Charlotte, N.C. https://t.co/fxejY1Eh2g
Friends said it was painful to get the news of Peterson's death and see police and news outlets use the wrong name and gender for Jaida.
Human Rights Campaign said that 44 transgender and gender-nonconforming people were killed in 2020. That's more than any year since the numbers have started being tracked.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.