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Police canvass area after shooting of transgender woman in northwest Baltimore

Police canvass for tips in transgender woman's fatal shooting in Northwest Baltimore.
Police canvass for tips in transgender woman's fatal shooting in Northwest Baltimore. (Justin Fenton)

A transgender woman who was shot in the back of the head early Friday morning in Northwest Baltimore has died from her injuries, police said.

Crystal Edmonds, 32, was found around 3:20 a.m. in the 3600 block of Fairview Ave. in Forest Park, police said. She was taken to a hospital and listed in grave condition, and died later in the morning.

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Police bought four vans full of cadets to help homicide detectives canvass for tips Friday afternoon through the leafy neighborhood of detached single-family homes.

"The person that can shoot a woman in the back of her head and leave her for dead on the street can do it again," police spokesman T.J. Smith said.

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Police did not know of a possible motive for the crime, and did not know why she was in the area. Smith said detectives were not sure whether Edmonds was targeted, either because she was transgender or another reason.

"The transgender community sometimes is targeted. It's something we're following up on," Smith said. "We don't have evidence that played a role."

Police reached out to the local lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community to make them aware of the crime. Police have had liaisons to the LGBT community in the past, but for the first time in October made the role a full-time position as they seek to improve outreach efforts. The liaison, Sgt. Kevin Bailey, said he helped coordinate with a local outreach group, which planned to hold a peer support session Friday night.

"The LGBT community didn't have a voice for a long time, so when something happens to a member of the community, it affects everyone," Bailey said.

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GLAAD, the national advocacy organization, tweeted about Edmonds' death, saying she was the 21st transgender woman killed in the country this year, tying 2015 for the deadliest year on record for such deaths.

"The victims of this violence are overwhelmingly transgender people of color, mostly transgender women, who live at the dangerous intersections of transphobia, racism, sexism, and criminalization which often lead to high rates of poverty, unemployment, and homelessness," GLAAD said on its web site.

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