A Black transgender woman was found dead with a gunshot wound inside a vehicle that crashed into a detached garage in Richmond, Virginia, on November 23.

It was around 5:42 a.m. three days before Thanksgiving when, Richmond police said, officers found Chae’Meshia Simms, also known as ChaeChae, dead with a gunshot wound in the driver’s seat of the crashed vehicle in an alley at 800 Block of Cheatwood Avenue in the northern section of Richmond. She was pronounced dead at the scene.

The circumstances surrounding Simms’ death remain unclear. Authorities told Gay City News the medical examiner will determine the cause of death for Simms, who was in her 30s when she died, but the case is being labeled as a homicide. There have been no arrests and no suspects have been publicly identified at this point.

Chae’Meshia Simms’ family is asking the LGBTQ community to help find justice

According to News 6, a local news outlet in Richmond, Simms was driving home with her mother’s rental vehicle at the time of the crash.

Family and friends huddled on November 27 to remember Simms, whose sudden death has prompted her family to demand justice. Her father is calling on the local LGBTQ community to help search for answers in the case, according to News 6.

Simms became the 39th known transgender or non-binary individual to suffer a violent death this year, according to the Human Rights Campaign’s (HRC). Simms’ death contributes to a record-breaking year during which Black trans women have been murdered at shocking rates. It is possible that there are other individuals whose deaths have not been public.

Simms is the first known trans individual to have suffered a violent death in Virginia this year among the 39 confirmed cases nationwide. In Texas, at least three transgender women — including two Black trans women — have been killed this year.

National Black Justice Coalition executive director David J. Jones said in a written statement that he no longer wants to talk about resiliency in the community. Instead, he wants all efforts to focus on the pressing need to end the deadly violence targeting trans folks.

“What I want is for the violence that Black trans women experience to end, once and for all,” Johns said. “There is no explanation for the continued violence that Black trans women and femme identified members of our community face, especially not during a global movement for Black lives. This is on us, this is on all of us.”


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