North Charleston Police Department discovered the body of a 29-year-old transgender woman who had been fatally shot, on the side of the road on Saturday.
Authorities were responding to reports of someone possibly being hit by a car when they found Denali Berries Stuckey suffering from a gunshot wound, CNN reports.
On Monday, family and friends gathered for a candlelight vigil sponsored by the Alliance for Full Acceptance and other LGBTQ groups in remembrance of Stuckey. According to a post from the Alliance for Full Acceptance on Instagram, Stuckey’s death marks the 12th this year for African American transgender women in the United States.
“While the greater community may be either unaware or disinterested in this news, it is important to understand the epidemic of violence against trans women of color and the crisis point at which we are now and have been for years,” Executive Director of the Alliance for Full Acceptance Chris Glenn wrote in a statement. “We refuse to become numb. We will continue to say the names of these women and remember them how they would have wanted to be remembered.”
At this time, police have not identified a suspect and are investigating a motive. But, authorities aren’t ruling out the possibility of a hate crime, despite the fact that South Carolina is currently one of five states without a hate crimes law in place.
Hate crimes are almost universally crimes of violence,” North Charleston Police Chief Deputy Chief Scott Deckard said in a statement. “We hope that through this tragic act, greater awareness is gained of the continuing discrimination and harassment of the LGBTQ community,” he added. “Our thoughts are with Denali’s family and friends.”