‘Critical time’: Police, LGBTQ community urge caution after murders of 2 transgender sex workers in North Carolina

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (FOX 46 CHARLOTTE)- Police in North Carolina are asking for the public’s help and caution after there were two homicides in 11 days targeting members of the LGTBQ community.

Investigators are still working to see if the two crimes are connected, and they add both victims were transwomen working as sex workers.

“This is very critical time right now until this person is apprehended, or these people are apprehended,” added Rob Tufano with CMPD. “They are hyper, hyper vulnerable.”

Those words coming as CMPD held a late evening news conference to talk about the two murders where both victims were shot and died. The first, April 4 at the Quality Inn on Queen City Drive and 11 days later, police responded to an early morning disturbance call at the Sleep Inn Hotel in University City.

Detectives say both victims were transwomen working in the sex trade.

“My heart bleeds for them because it’s an awful situation choose between eating or dying,” says Jenny Jaymes Gunn, who knew one of the victims. “That’s exactly what most of them are facing.”

Community have been posting about one of the victims, who went by the name Jaida.

All say the news is disturbing because transwomen of color are the minority of minorities and are more apt to be victims of violence.

“They are the most affected economically which is why many of them go into sex work,” Gunn said.

Investigators are working on leads and hope to have more information soon.

“Be hyper cautious, hyper vigilant in who they engage with, their surroundings,” says Tufano. 

But those words give little comfort to those knowing someone is out there looking to do harm in their community.

“We’ve become target and especially when rage is at an all-time high,” says Gunn. “And people in desperate times, people do awful and unhinged things.”

If you have any information about these two crimes, call CMPD’s Public Affairs Office at (704) 432-TIPS or Crime Stoppers at (704) 334-1600.

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