Transgender woman shot dead in vicious attack becomes 11th killed this year

A transgender woman has been shot dead in public after an altercation in Portland, Oregon.

Gigi Pierce, 28, became the 11th trans person to be killed in the US this year when she died on May 21.

That number may yet rise when police determine the cause of death of 39-year-old Nicole Hall, whose body was found in White Rock Creek in Dallas, Texas, earlier this month.

Sophia Grace Adler, 33, was arrested at the scene in downtown Portland and later charged with murder.

Sophia Adler (Multnomah County Jail)

She pleaded not guilty in court on Tuesday.

Pierce, from Boise in Idaho, was found lying wounded on the side of the street by emergency staff, but died within minutes of them getting to her, according to local TV channel KATU.

Those who knew her on the street have said that Pierce made it her mission to protect other homeless women.

Amber, a friend of Pierce, said she was present when the shooting happened.

“She died in my arms,” she said.

Amber is comforted (KATU)

“I heard Gigi say: ‘Don’t touch me,'” added Amber. “And the woman came up and hit Gigi in the face with her purse.

“That kinda set Gigi off. Gigi went to hit her, pulled back to hit her, and the next thing I know my ear’s ringing.

“There had been a gunshot. It all happened so fast.

“It always does. It all happened so fast.”

Sergeant Chris Burley of the Portland City Police backed up this account.

He said: “We do believe that prior to the shooting there had been some type of disagreement or disturbance that was going on that led up to the shooting.”

(HECTOR MATA/AFP/Getty Images)


Josie Deleon-Summa, who got to know both Pierce and her suspected killer, paid tribute to the victim.

“Gigi was the kind of person that was just full of life, always trying to help somebody,” said Deleon-Summa.

She added that if Adler did shoot her, it was out of character.

“Something happened last night to make her snap,” she said. “But she’s a good kid. Just misunderstood. I don’t know exactly what happened between the two.”

A total of 28 trans people were killed in the US in 2017, the highest number on record.

The current rate of trans killings in 2018 is the same as last year.

Nino Fortson, 36, died after being shot multiple times following an argument in Atlanta, Georgia during the early hours of May 13.

(Nino Starr/Facebook)

Carla Patricia Flores-Pavon, 18, was choked to death in Dallas, Texas, earlier this month.

(Carla Patricia Flores-Pavon/Facebook)

Sasha Wall, 29, was shot dead in Chesterfield County, South Carolina, in April, dying after suffering multiple gunshots in her car.

(Facebook/sasha wall)

Amia Tyrae Berryman, a 28-year-old from Los Angeles, was the seventh trans person to be killed this year.

Amia Tyrae Berryman

She was found shot to death in a motel room in March.

In February, the body of Zakaria Fry, 28, was found on a road just outside of Santa Fe, Albuquerque.

(Photo by Zakaria Fry/Facebook)

Phylicia Mitchell was shot dead in Cleveland, Ohio. The 45-year-old was found in her living room on February 23 with bullet wounds in her chest.

(Photo by Phylicia Mitchell/Facebook)

Celine Walker, 36, was found shot to death in a motel room in Jacksonville, Florida in February.

(Photo by Naomi Michaels/Facebook)

Also in February, Tonya Harvey, 35, was shot dead on Shepard Street in Buffalo, New York.

(Facebook/tonya harvey)

Harvey’s murder followed the killings of Christa Leigh Steele-Knudslien, who founded the Miss Trans America pageant, and Viccky Gutierrez, who was burned to death in Los Angeles.

Viccky Gutierrez

Viccky Gutierrez, the second trans woman murdered in 2018 (Photo from GoFundMe)

Steele-Knudslien was found stabbed to death in her home.

Most of the victims have been trans women of colour.