Black transgender woman shot dead in Dallas, devastated community members say they feel like 'open targets'

Black transgender woman shot dead in Dallas, devastated community members say they feel like 'open targets'
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DALLAS, TEXAS: A 22-year-old Black transgender woman was fatally shot in Dallas on Tuesday, June 30, police have revealed. The Dallas Police are investigating the death of the woman, who has been identified as Merci 'Pooda' Mack by family members. Mack was found unresponsive in the Rosemont apartment complex, which is located at 3015 E Ledbetter Drive on Tuesday. While speaking to NBC via email, Sgt Warren C. Mitchell shared, "Our detectives, as with all murders, are working diligently to find the perpetrator to this horrible crime."

"We continue to ask the community for their assistance," Mitchell added. Local transgender advocates have said that the victim was 'deadnamed' in media and police reports. Deadnaming is when a trans person's birth name and not their preferred name is used. The Dallas Police Department revealed that they had been "unable to confirm an alternate name for the victim." Naomi Green from Abounding Prosperity in Dallas said, "To turn around and see something like this happen to a Black trans woman, and more than likely because they are trans, even though they are Black, it’s very devastating," reports WFAA . 

"It’s a huge slap in the face," Green added and dubbed the killing as a big blow to the community. According to the authorities, Mack had died from several gunshot wounds. Green continued, "There’s a lot of anger, disappointment, devastation." Other tenants at the apartment complex had told authorities that they had heard some gunfire on Tuesday at around 5 am in the morning. However, investigators say that no calls were made to 911. The Director of Development and Transgender Programs/Services with Abounding Prosperity, Sharyn Grayson said, "It’s overwhelming." 

The killing, which happened on the last day of Pride Month, comes just days after LGBTQ advocates and Black Lives Matter protesters took to the streets to speak about equality and other pertinent issues. Grayson shared, "Black lives are inclusive of Black transgender lives. The entire trans community, we hurt. We feel the same pains as the rest of our community feels, and the losses that we are suffering in our community, they are felt doubly." During an interview on Wednesday, the founder of the Black Trans Advocacy Coalition, Carter Brown said, "It’s been a very tumultuous time for the Dallas transgender community."

"For transgender people, there’s not really a place — not within the LGBT community, and, especially for the Black trans community, there’s no place in the Black community," Brown added. "So with no community and no protection from friends or other people — let alone authority or the law — then we are often just attacked and disposed of as a result of transphobia and homophobia," Brown continued. "It just feels like we are out here as open targets."

As per the Human Rights Campaign, at least 27 transgender people were killed across the country last year. Most of these victims were Black transgender women and many of those cases took place in North Texas. Investigators are urging anyone with information about the shooting to call Detective Tabor with the Dallas Police Department’s Homicide Unit at 214-f671-3605 or, for case #114244-2020.

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