On Saturday Alejandra Leos, a transgender woman living in North Memphis, was shot at least three times and was left lying on the street outside her home. In the 24 hours following her murder, police originally identified Leos as a man but according to news reports, “family members say Alejandra Leos lived life as a woman.”
WREG-TV in Memphis posted this story Sunday, filled with quotes from neighbors and friends who considered her family. “If you didn’t have no place to sleep,” said one, “he [sic] would help you.”
Later Sunday evening, WREG posted a follow-up story, included with the link above, identifying a suspect had been apprehended.
With this story, it became clear the case had turned into one of domestic violence, and not a reasonably assumed hate crime. Arrested is 21-year-old Marshall Pegues. According to a police report, Leos and Pegues had an argument in their home prior to the shooting.
A funeral fund has been set up at the Gun Violence Survivors Foundation website to assist with expenses.
Marisa Richmond is secretary of the Tennessee Transgender Political Coalition and is in Memphis now speaking at a conference on human trafficking. “At this point, I’m still learning details (regarding the Leos case),” she said via email.
“There is far too much violence against trans women of color,” she posted to Facebook on Sunday, “and Memphis has a long and sad history of such crimes.” Exclusive to O&AN Richmond shared her comments from a panel she sat on for the Tennessee Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence.
“We talked about root causes of violence,” she said, “namely parent on LGBT child violence. I pointed out that since many are forced out of their homes to escape potential violence from family members, that leaves the vulnerable to violence on the streets. I also pointed out statistics from the National Transgender Discrimination Survey which shows that trans people of color are more likely to be victims than any other group.”
“This shows the intersection of racism and transphobia, with some misogyny mixed in when the victim is a trans woman.”
Graphic via WREG