NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Family, friends, and members of the LGBTQ+ community came together in North Charleston to honor the life of a transgender woman who was shot and killed.
North Charleston police say Denali Stuckey, 29, was fatally shot early Saturday.
They say the incident was initially reported to be a possible auto-pedestrian accident. Instead they found Stuckey on the side of the road suffering from a gunshot wound.
On Monday, Stuckey’s loved ones celebrated her life with a candle-light vigil. People who knew her said she was a wonderful person that made everyone smile.
“We loved her," said Belinda Frasier, a friend of the family."Her and my daughter looked at each other as sisters and they are just so hurt that someone did this to her.”
While the motive behind Stuckey’s death is still being investigated, her loved ones say there’s no denying the violence transgender women face.
Activists say her death marks the 12th this year for transgender women in the United States.
All of them were African American.
“We predicted just a month ago that this wouldn’t be the last trans black murder,” said Vanily Reid Deterville, a member of the Alliance For Full Acceptance. “But the fact that we didn’t know it would be here in the holy city is the most chilling fact of it all.”
South Carolina is also one of five states without a hate crimes law.
Activists say more needs to be done to try and pass legislation, regardless of whether Stuckey was killed because of her gender identity.
Anyone with any information about the shooting is asked to call NCPD Crime Stoppers at (843) 554-1111.