Transgender woman shot, killed outside vehicle in east Houston neighborhood, police say

HOUSTON – Two people are on the run after authorities say one of them shot and killed a transgender woman outside of a vehicle in an east Houston neighborhood early Friday.

According to Houston Police Department’s Lt. Willkens, it happened in the 11600 block of Wood Shadows Drive near the East Freeway at around 1:45 a.m. Friday.

A neighbor’s surveillance camera captured a dark-colored four-door sedan pulling into the neighborhood just before the shooting. The car took a lap through the neighborhood and then returned a few minutes later.

The video obtained by KPRC 2 doesn’t show exactly what happens next because of a parked car that blocks part of the view.

But, as the car returns a second time, the headlights turn off and it comes to a stop.

“The vehicle pulled up, she got out of that vehicle, a male got out of that vehicle as well, shot her, got back in the car, and took off,” Willkens.

A neighbor’s surveillance camera captured that part, too, as the car came to a stop a couple of blocks up the street at a dead end. The lights went out at that point.

The woman was shot once, he said.

Neighbors who spoke to KPRC 2 said they didn’t hear it.

Paramedics arrived at the scene and pronounced the woman dead. She appeared to be in her late 20s or early 30s, Wilkens said.

“We don’t believe it had anything to do with the residential homes right over here – it happened quick and fast,” he added.

Houston police have not said if the shooting was a hate crime.

Last year was the deadliest on record for transgender or gender non-conforming people, according to the Human Rights Campaign. Records show that fifty-seven transgender people in total were reportedly killed across the country last year, up from 44 from 2020.

Since 2013, 77% of victims were transgender women of color.

The data is compiled based on grassroots community reports and news reports, a spokesperson told KPRC 2.

A transgender woman was shot and killed in her southwest Houston apartment in February. Last April, another transgender woman, Iris Santos, was shot and killed while sitting outside of a Chick-Fil-A on Westheimer Road.

“Transgender people, just like anyone else, deserve to live their lives fully without discrimination or violence. Violent tragedies happen all too often to transgender people – especially Black and brown transgender women – in communities across the country. The violence that transgender people face is one of the horrific results of continued stigma and systemic discrimination. We all share a responsibility to end that stigma and to end the violence,” the Human Rights Campaign wrote in a statement to KPRC 2.

An investigation is underway to determine the motive for Friday’s shooting.

Anyone with information in this case is asked to call HPD Homicide at 713-308-3600 or Crime Stoppers at 713-222-TIPS.

About the Authors:

A graduate of the University of Houston-Downtown, Ana moved to H-Town from sunny southern California in 2015. In 2020, she joined the KPRC 2 digital team as an intern. Ana is a self-proclaimed coffee connoisseur, a catmom of 3, and an aquarium enthusiast. In her spare time, she's an avid video gamer and loves to travel.

Bryce Newberry joined KPRC 2 in July 2022. He loves the thrill of breaking news and digging deep on a story that gets people talking.