21-year-old transgender woman shot dead outside a shopping mall
Police in suburban Washington, D.C. are investigating the
murder of a 21-year-old transgender woman who was shot
dead outside a Maryland shopping center on Thursday,
October15. Zella Ziona was found in an alleyway near a
Washington, D.C. parking lot between two shopping malls,
with a fatal gunshot wound to her head. She later died at a
According to The Advocate, Ziona is the 21st transgender
person killed in the United States in 2015, a record-high
number. Police initially identified Ziona as a man due to
identification found at the scene, but after speaking with
friends and family, authorities on Friday correctly used her
chosen gender and name.
officially called her death a hate crime, they haven’t ruled
out the possibility. “This is a horrific crime and a tragedy for
those who knew Zella,” Montgomery County Police Chief J.
Thomas Mangersaid in a statement.
As with all homicides in Montgomery County, we have
detectives working around the clock to thoroughly and
completely investigate this murder.” Friends and supporters
have taken to social media, many using the hashtag
#SayHerName, to remember Ziona, and to draw attention to
what has been called a violent epidemic against trans
people. Police have not identified a suspect, but a witness
told WJLA that he saw Ziona surrounded by and arguing
with four or five teenagers, one of them then shot her four
or five times.
he saw the gunfire around 5:50 p.m. on Thursday. “They
argued and things happened so fast. I don’t know what they
argued for,” the witness said. In the midst of an argument,
he says one of the teens pulled out a gun and shot Ziona in
A $10,000 reward is being offered for information
leading to an arrest.