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US: Los Angeles transgender woman shot dead

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Police have appealed for help after a Los Angeles transgender woman was shot dead.

47-year-old Aniya ‘Asia’ Parker was shot in the head on Thursday morning, on the corners of Melrose and Kenmore avenues in East Hollywood.

On Friday evening a vigil was held by friends and members of the transgender community, with many attendees angry that police are treating the incident – which was captured on CCTV – as a ‘botched robbery’ and not as a hate crime.

Los Angeles Police Department’s Captain Brian Pratt defended the investigation, telling CBS: “Just because of a person’s lifestyle and they’re a victim of a violent crime, it doesn’t necessarily make it a hate crime.”

LA councillor Mitch O’Farrell added: “The police can only make that determination once the suspects are apprehended. That’s the key.

“We want to get to the bottom of it and we can only get to the bottom of it once these cowards who did this are apprehended, and the good news is that they’re on video.

“This kind of brutality against anyone should never be tolerated in the city.”

However, Mary Zeiser of Hollywood told ABC: “This was not a robbery, in fact, they left the purse behind. This is a cold-blooded hate crime and this type of violence needs to end.”

Police are seeking 2-4 Hispanic males in connection with the killing, and have appealed for anyone with information to come forward.

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