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Texas police investigating possible link between 2 killings, 1 assault of transgender women

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May 22 (UPI) — Dallas police are investing whether there is a connection between the deaths of two transgender women and an assault on a third in the city over the past seven months, authorities said.

Dallas Police Department Maj. Vincent Weddington told reporters Tuesday that police are aware of four investigations involving the assault, murder or death of transgender women in Dallas since 2017, while police are looking to see if there is a link between the most recent three, which occurred in the past seven months.

“These cases, although not directly related at this time, do have similarities the public needs to be aware of,” he said.

The most recent victim, Muhlaysia Booker, 23, was shot and killed Saturday after having been beaten by a group of men a month earlier.

In April, a transgender woman was stabbed multiple times and left for dead. And in October 2018, a transgender woman was fatally shot in a vehicle.

Weddington said all of the victims were black transgender females while two of them were in the area of Spring Avenue and Lagow Street prior to being attacked.

Two of the three victims had also gotten into a vehicle with someone prior to the attacks while the third allowed someone into her vehicle, he said.

“At this time we have not established a direct link between these cases,” he said while calling on the public to contact Crime Stoppers if they have any information.

Weddington also mentioned a fourth investigation going back to July 2017 when the remains of a transgender woman were found in a Dallas field. The circumstances of her death had yet to be determined, he said.

Booker’s death came a month after she was assaulted by a group of men in a parking lot of an apartment complex. Police said the assault, which was film and widely circulated on social media, followed a verbal confrontation with a man over a minor traffic accident.

A 29-year-old man was arrested for her beating but is not believed to be to connected to her death, Weddington had previously said, adding that more suspects were being sought.

Weddington said Dallas police are working with their federal partners to determine if any of the offenses could be considered hate crimes.

He also said that a town hall had been scheduled for Thursday as part of its lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender outreach program.

“Everyone needs to be vigilant and pay attention to their surroundings when they’re out in public and use caution when interacting socially,” he said.

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