Skip to content
Link copied to clipboard

Cops seek answers in transgender woman's slaying

Kiesha Jenkins was fatally shot early Tuesday in Logan.

Kiesha Jenkins: Shot in back. (Facebook)
Kiesha Jenkins: Shot in back. (Facebook)Read more

INVESTIGATORS ARE imploring the public to help them find the group responsible for killing a transgender woman in cold blood yesterday in Logan.

Kiesha Jenkins, 22, of North Philadelphia, was gunned down about 2:30 a.m. on Wingohocking Street near 13th, according to Homicide Capt. James Clark.

Jenkins was found lying on the pavement, suffering from two gunshot wounds to her back. Responding officers took her a nearby hospital, where she later was pronounced dead, Clark said.

Investigators said the attack happened not long after Jenkins had been dropped off by an unidentified man. After the driver pulled away, Jenkins walked for a few minutes and then was approached by a group of at least five men, Clark said.

They pummeled Jenkins, knocking her to the ground. Then one man pulled out a gun and shot her twice at point-blank range, Clark said.

It was unclear last night what prompted the shooting. Clark said that it was too early to describe Jenkins' murder as a hate crime, but added that it appeared she was targeted by her killers.

Also unclear was why Jenkins, who lives in North Philly, was so far from home, Clark said.

As investigators worked to make sense of the senseless murder, Jenkins' family gathered to mourn at the other end of the city.

Their rowhouse in South Philly was a hive of activity last night, a sharp contrast to the other residences on the tidy block, a stone's throw from Interstate 76.

Cousins, neighbors and friends filtered in and out in a constant procession of grief. Some cried, others hugged one another tightly.

Jenkins' father declined to comment, asking for privacy as he and his family mourned.

They weren't alone: The city's LGBT community was devastated after hearing news of the death.

"It's horrific, really. There's a family grieving . . . the entire city of Philadelphia feels it when someone is so brutalized," Nellie Fitzpatrick, Mayor Nutter's liaison on LGBT issues, told the Daily News last night.

Transgender people, particularly those of color, face higher rates of violence, she added.

"We as a society have to get to a point where transgender and gender-nonconforming people aren't just in the news for homicide," she said.

Jenkins was the second transgender woman killed in Philadelphia this year, and the 21st nationwide, according to Fitzpatrick.

London Chanel, 21, was fatally stabbed May 18 by her roommate in Wister. Police said a personal argument led to the attack.

In an infamous case that has not been solved, Nizah Morris, a transgender entertainer, was found suffering from severe head trauma after police gave her a "courtesy ride" on Dec. 22, 2002.

An officer allegedly found Morris intoxicated in Center City and dropped her off at 15th and Walnut streets. She later turned up at nearby Thomas Jefferson University Hospital with an unexplained head wound.

Morris died on Christmas Eve. Advocates have expressed dissatisfaction with the way her case was handled.

"We've been saying clearly that trans lives matter," Christopher Bartlett, executive director of the William Way LGBT Community Center, on Spruce Street near 13th in Center City, said last night of the latest transgender slaying.

"This is evidence that more advocacy is needed."

Capt. Clark urged anyone with information - especially the person who dropped Jenkins off in Logan - to contact police.

"We need you to come forward and tell us what you saw," Clark said, addressing the driver.

Tipsters should call Homicide detectives at 215-686-3334 or -3335.

On Twitter: @JBrandt_TU