Trans person shot in Puerto Rico in 6th killing this year

September 30, 2020 GMT

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — Authorities said a transgender woman was fatally shot Wednesday in southwest Puerto Rico, the sixth such killing this year.

Michelle Ramos Vargas, 33, was found along an isolated road near a farm in the town of San German, according to officials, who said they were investigating whether it was a hate crime.

Police officer Manuel Cruz told The Associated Press that the victim had apparently worked as a bartender and was studying nursing and was shot several times in the head.

Human rights activist Pedro Julio Serrano condemned the killing and said trans people in the U.S. territory are being hunted.


“Enough of so much hate,” he said in a statement. “Trans people are as human as everyone else and deserve to live in peace, equality and freedom.”

The bodies of two transgender women were found inside a charred car in southeast Puerto Rico in April. The FBI took over the investigation after two men were arrested in that case. Also that month, a transgender woman was killed in prison.

Meanwhile, a 19-year-old transsexual man was shot in the western town of Moca in March and a person identified as Neulisa Luciano Ruiz was found dead in the northern town of Toa Baja in February. Ruiz’s body was found after a video posted on social media showed at least two men mocking and threatening a person believed to be the victim, followed by gunfire.