DALLAS — Arlington police say they are investigating the killing of a 21-year-old transgender woman.
Officers responded about 9:30 p.m. Thursday to an apartment in the 1100 block of Stonetrail Road in north Arlington near Collins Street and Green Oaks Boulevard, according to a police news release.
A resident at the apartments called police after they found an unresponsive person inside a parked vehicle.
When officers arrived, they found the victim, identified by family as Kier Kartier, had been shot, police said. She was taken to a hospital, where she later died.
Kartier's best friend, DayVion Haggerty, said it still hasn't hit him that she's gone.
"I was literally just with her," Haggerty said. "Now, 72 hours later, she's gone."
Haggerty described her as a "ball of joy."
"Everybody just loved who she was," Haggerty said.
Haggerty said Kartier's mother gave him permission to do an interview and share Kartier's photo but said her family is still trying to wrap their minds around this tragedy.
"All they want is justice and answers," Haggerty said.
Detectives on Friday were still investigating the shooting and canvassing the neighborhood for possible witnesses or surveillance video.
Police said they did not believe Kartier lived at the apartment complex, but Haggerty said Kartier was living in Arlington. Investigators had no information about a possible suspect.
While police said they do not have enough information to determine whether Kartier was killed because she is transgender, advocates in North Texas said her death is the latest in a tragic trend they've been mourning for years.
"It will three years tomorrow since I relocated here," Naomi Green, a Black trans woman and advocate, said. "Since I have relocated here. There have been eight transgender woman shot. Seven have died and all seven were Black.”
Leslie McMurray, who leads transgender education and advocacy for Resource Center, said the underlying issue is oppression and the ongoing devaluation of trans lives.
"We don't murder things that we value," McMurray said.
Nov. 20 is the National Transgender Day of Remembrance, and McMurray said it's crucial that women like Kartier are not just written off as mere statistics.
Green said cases like this one reinvigorate her mission to be vocal and continue to serve.
"It's very scary," Green said. "It's a lot of fear. It's not easy, but I've never been one to let fear dictate my actions. I want to make sure that, as a community, we have a voice."
Anyone with information about the shooting is asked to call police detectives at 817-459-6466. Tips can also be submitted anonymously through Crime Stoppers of Tarrant County at 817-469-TIPS (8477).
According to the Human Rights Campaign, there have been 37 transgender or gender non-conforming people killed in 2021. It comes after a record number of violent fatal incidents in 2020, according to HRC, totaling 44 fatalities. It was the most violent year on record since the HRC began tracking these crimes in 2012, the group said.