Man Charged in Fatal Shooting of Black Trans Woman

A Maryland man has been charged with the shooting death of 21-year-old Zella Ziona, a trans woman from Maryland.

According to officials, Ziona was killed in an alley last week after getting in an argument with a group of men. Rico LeBlond, 20, reportedly became enraged after Ziona “began acting flamboyantly” toward him and allegedly shot Ziona in the head and groin. She was taken to an area hospital, where she died.

Philadelphia Police Investigating Murder of Black Trans Woman

LeBlond has been charged with first-degree murder, and Montgomery Village police are considering charging him with a hate crime.

“I just want to know why,” Ziona’s cousin, Sade Thomas, told a CBS Maryland affiliate. “Why did you take such a beautiful, amazing soul like that and he [sic] was never the type of person to hate you or do anything to you?”

Ziona is the 22nd trans woman—and at least 17th trans woman of color—killed this year, up from 11 in 2014.