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Transgender Woman Gunned Down In Oakland In ‘Frightening’ Year Of Anti-Trans Violence

Nikai David's violent death made 2021 the the deadliest year on record for transgender, non-binary and gender non-conforming people according to the Human Rights Campaign.
 

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A 33-year-old transgender model and social media influencer was shot and killed in Oakland last week, police said.

Nikai David was found shot to death in the 1400 block of Castro Street around 4:00 a.m. on Dec. 3, according to an Oakland Police Department press release. Authorities responding to reports of shots fired found David unresponsive and suffering from gunshot wounds. She was pronounced dead at the scene. 

No arrests have been made in her slaying. A motive also hasn’t been disclosed by investigators.

On Wednesday, a spokesperson for the Oakland Police Department stated that the murder doesn’t appear to be a hate crime.

“At this time, there is no evidence suggesting this was a hate crime,” a public information officer said in a statement sent to Oxygen.com on Wednesday.

David, who wasn’t identified by name by authorities, was an aspiring clothing boutique owner who modeled and had an active presence on social media, loved ones said.

"I was really devastated when I found out, when I got the news," David’s friend, Ashlee Banks, told KTVU.

Banks described David as a “really sweet,” “happy,” and “fun person.” The 33-year-old had celebrated her birthday roughly a week before the deadly incident. 

“To the people who harmed her, I just hope that justice is served," Banks added. "I know there was some type of physical altercation that led to my sister getting shot in her head.”

David’s slaying marks the 50th murder of a trans, nonbinary or non-gender conforming person this year in the U.S., according to LGBTQ advocacy group the Human Rights Campaign, which tracks transgender deaths. 

"Learning about Nikai David’s death is disheartening and alarming,” Tori Cooper, director of the organization’s Transgender Justice Initiative, said in a statement sent to Oxygen.com. “Nikai was a young person with so much life ahead of her."

"For her future to have been violently taken away from her serves as a reminder that we remain with so much work ahead of us to ensure a safe and loving world for all,” Cooper added.

In 2020, 44 transgender killings were recorded in the United States, which had been the highest number of murders since the non-profit started their annual report of anti-trans violence in 2013. 

“In the year that we’ve marked as the deadliest year on record for our community, we continue to see a frightening rate of fatal violence against transgender and gender non-conforming people,” Cooper explained. “We must all continue to demand that the violence cease."

The majority of victims of anti-trans violence are typically Black and Latine, and are often existing on the margins, local advocates said.

"The people who kill them feel that they're not worthy,” Joe Hawkins, the CEO of the Oakland LGBTQ Community Center also told KTVU. “Who's gonna care? Black transgender people deserve and need the support that they have not been given."  

The Oakland Police Department declined to release additional information regarding David’s murder on Wednesday afternoon.

Anybody with information related to the ongoing investigation is urged to contact the Oakland Police Department's homicide unit at 510-238-3821 or 510-238-7950.

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