On 4:30 am Wednesday morning someone shot 23-year-old Lashai McLean in the back and left her for dead. By the time the Fire and Emergency Medical Services took McLean to the hospital she was dead. Now the police are looking for two black male suspects as well as the other trans-person walking with Lashai at the time of the murder. The shooting occurred in an area known for trans-prositution and Lashai’s last arrest occurred because of sexual solicitation as well. So was Lashai’s murder connected at all to prostitution or are police just painting another trans person as a sex worker?
According to Earline Budd, who runs D.C.’s Transgender Health Empowerment office, LaShai used to stop by at least once a week and also wanted to find housing through the office.
Budd said, “It’s been time and time again we’ve been getting calls here at Transgender Health Empowerment about stabbings. They’ve been shot and they’ve been beat up and I can just say that I can’t say Shai was involved in any illegal activities in terms of being there, but I can tell you clearly that area has a lot of violence and we work very closely to educate young ladies.”
Lashai left behind friends and family including her boyfriend Jason Coleman who said, “It just hurts my heart. It hurts me terrible. I don’t know what I’m going to do without her. She was lovely, too. I wanted to be with her the rest of my life.”
The D.C. Mayor has promised to press hate crime charges if the investigation reveals that Lashai’s trans-identity played a factor in the killer’s motive.