A trans woman has been murdered in Puerto Rico and a purported video of the shooting has been shared online.
Neulisa Luciano Ruiz, better known as Alexa, was shot dead on Monday morning hours after police were called on her for using the female toilets at a McDonald’s.
Police received reports of someone “peeping” on people using the restrooms. When they responded to the reports, they found no proof, and the complainant didn’t try to press charges after learning Alexa was homeless.
However things took a sinister turn when pictures of Alexa being accosted by the cops at the restaurant was circulated online. Within hours she had been shot dead, and police are now investigating if a video being shared on social media captured the moment she was gunned down.
In the video, a number of men in a car can be heard jeering at a person dressed similarly to Alexa, as she walks away into the dark and attempts to ignore them.
“Kiss my ass … we are going to shoot you up,” voices can be heard shouting in Spanish. “Before I go I’m going to stick my wood in you. You think so, motherf–ker?”
Suddenly, 11 shots are heard ringing out into the darkness in quick succession.
San Juan-based LGBTQ activist Pedro Julio Serrano condemned the attack as a hate crime, but also criticized the police for exacerbating the problem by misgendering Alexa, after they reported that “a man dressed in a black skirt” had been killed.
“The terrible murder of a trans woman, revealed in a video where she is stalked and hunted, is nothing more than a hate crime motivated by intolerance,” he said.
“We must denounce the hate speech of the fundamentalist groups that have promoted a climate where they prosecute and persecute a trans person for the mere fact of using a bathroom.”
Human Rights Campaign issued a statement on the tragic death: “This is a horrifying crime that must be investigated with the utmost thoroughness and care. This victim, who has now been identified as Neulisa Luciano Ruiz, was a human being, a member of a community, a friend and family member.”
“She had dreams, hopes, hobbies and did not deserve to have her life taken from her. HRC has heard that Ruiz was experiencing homelessness, further highlighting the ways a toxic mix of transphobia and misogyny conspire to put the transgender community at risk of extreme violence,” HRC Director of Community Engagement for the Transgender Justice Initiative Tori Cooper said.
Watch the video below.