Friends called for justice in the shooting death of a 33-year-old transgender woman in an Augusta park earlier this month.
The Richmond County Sheriff’s Office reported the body of Felycya Harris (photo) around 1:30 p.m. on Oct. 3 in Meadowbrook Park in the 3600 block of Meadowlark Drive. Officers are investigating the incident as a homicide, according to an incident report.
Harris is the third child of Clara Taylor to be killed by gun violence, she told Fox 54.
“To have my third child gone before me is devastating,” Taylor said.
Harris is the 31st trans or gender-nonconforming person violently killed in the U.S. this year, according to the Human Rights Campaign.
“This epidemic of violence, which is particularly impacting transgender women of color, must and can be stopped,” HRC President Alphonso David said in a press release.
“We must work to address the factors that underpin this culture of violence and openly discuss how the intersection of racism, sexism, homophobia, biphobia and transphobia work to deprive transgender and gender non-conforming people of equal access to opportunity and necessities like employment, housing and health care,” he added.
Equality Augusta took an interest in the case to ensure the sheriff’s office investigates the incident fully, said Matthew Duncan, the organization’s president.
“Equality Augusta mourns the senseless loss of Felycya Harris,” Duncan told Project Q Atlanta. “The ongoing crisis affecting our nation’s trans community must be addressed. It is no less than a matter of life and death. Equality Augusta will continue to steadfastly advocate for the safety and dignity of our trans community.”
Harris was a great decorator and dancer, according to her friend Ricola Collier.
“I just want justice to be served for my friend,” Collier told WRDW.
Augusta Mayor Hardie Davis urged anyone with information about Harris’ death to come forward, according to Fox 54.
“If there are individuals of the public who may be listening or tuning in. If you have information related to the murder of Felycya Harris, I would urge you to call the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office,” Davis said.
The sheriff’s office did not release further information. The Richmond County Coroner’s Office did not respond to a request for the coroner’s report.
The sheriff’s office appointed Deputy Zay’Vion Williams as its first fulltime LGBTQ liaison in 2015. Williams told Project Q on Tuesday that he was off duty when Harris’s body was found and that he heard about it through social media. He is not involved in the case because he is not an investigator, he added.
This story is made possible by a grant from Google News Initiative’s Journalism Emergency Relief Fund.