Police searching for leads in the “horrible” murder of a Black trans woman

People in the LGBTQ community and all around Dallas are mourning the death of Miss CoCo, a 44 year-old transgender woman who was shot to death near an encampment of transient people on August 7.

CoCo is believed to be at least the 34th trans person to be murdered or face a violent death in 2021 so far, according to the Human Rights Campaign.

Police receive reports of someone being shot after 10:00 pm on the evening of the 7th. They found CoCo wounded and transported her to a local hospital, where she was proclaimed dead.

CoCo’s death has been reported to her family, police told NBC Dallas/Fort Worth.

This week, LGBTQ community activists and homelessness advocates mourned her death.

The Nu Trans Movement said on Facebook that CoCo was “a well-known small girl with a big, bubbly personality. CoCo was a happy person & proud to be living her truth! Light a candle for sister to guide her on the journey to her next destination. Rest in Love and Peace sister.”

Advocates are expressing concern that it is likely that the country is on pace to surpass the 44 known trans people to face murders or violent death that was set in 2020. That was the highest number found by the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) since 2013.

Miss CoCo is reportedly the seventh trans person murdered in Dallas since 2017.

“We continue to witness a high level of violence against transgender and gender non-conforming people, especially Black and Brown trans women,” said Tori Cooper, the director of community engagement for HRC’s Transgender Justice Initiative. “We urgently need action to stop the violence and stigma against trans and gender non-conforming people. Everyone must speak up and get involved in their communities to work to bring this violence to an end.”

CoCo was experiencing homelessness at the time of her death and staying at an encampment of transient people in the Downtown Dallas Historic District. She was identified by fingerprints following her death.

“It’s a horrible tragedy when any of our homeless friends die,” Pastor Wayne Walker of Our Calling, a faith-based homeless services organization, said. “It’s, unfortunately, a reality of the abuse that happens on the streets. Our most vulnerable population really attracts the worst kinds of predators.”

Miss CoCo’s death is being investigated by the Dallas Police Department’s Homicide Unit as a hate crime, although Texas state law doesn’t explicitly include gender identity within hate crime statutes. Still, no motive or key information has been revealed.

Leslie McMurray, an associate at the Resource Center, a local LGBTQ advocacy organization, told NBC DFW that “If [Dallas police] were to appeal to the Justice Department and/or the FBI and go through that process to get it declared a hate crime, then it could be possible. But that’s never happened in the past.

“I would like for transgender people to be protected under hate crime legislation and God knows we’ve tried,” McMurray noted.

Anyone with information can contact Detective Frank Serra, #10031, referring to case number 141396-2021. Det. Serra can be reached at 214-671-4320 or frank.serra@dallascityhall.com.

Tips can also be directed to Crime Stoppers by calling 214-373-TIPS (8477). Crime Stoppers is offering a $5,000 reward for any information that leads to arrest and indictment for CoCo’s death