Detectives are investigating whether Wednesday morning's fatal shooting of a transgender woman in Northeast was a hate crime, D.C. officials said.
Metropolitan Police Department officers found 23-year-old Myles Mclean of Northeast at 6110 Dix Street Northeast around 4:30 a.m. suffering from a gunshot wound.
The shooting occurred about 10 blocks from a group home for homeless gay and transgender youth where Mclean was seeking housing, Transgender Health Empowerment (THE) programs director Brian Watson said.
"A lot of our clients hang out there," Mr. Watson said of the home.
Miss Mclean, also known as "Shay," was a regular client of THE, a D.C. nonprofit that provides resources including housing, counseling and HIV testing for transgender, gay, bisexual and lesbian individuals, he said.
While police have not ruled that the homicide was a hate crime, MPD reported earlier this year that hate crimes relating to sexual orientation or gender identity are up. Crimes related to sexual orientation or gender identity jumped from 35 in 2009 to 45 in 2010, according to the MPD´s 2010 annual report on bias-related crimes.
"Every homicide in the District of Columbia is a tragedy for which the perpetrators must be brought to swift justice," said Mayor Vincent C. Gray. "However, if the investigation concludes that this shooting was the result of bias based on sexual orientation or gender identity, [the Metropolitan Police Department] and my administration will see that there is an appropriate response to this kind of violence, which cannot be tolerated."
No arrests have been made in Miss Mclean's slaying but police say they are looking for two male suspects.
According to D.C. court records, Miss Mclean has been in and out of jail several times for minor offenses in the last several years. She was most recently arrested for sexual solicitation, a charge that was dropped after she completed a diversion program.
Miss Mclean was shot about a half-mile from Clay Terrace, a neighborhood the police department has identified as a crime hot spot this summer and where the city has decided to post firefighters to provide extra eyes on the street. Hers was one of two overnight shootings that occurred near high-crime spots where firefighters have been posted to act as crime deterrents.
The second shooting, which was not fatal, occurred at about 12:40 a.m. in the 5000 block of Benning Road Southeast. The 26-year-old victim is in serious condition. It occurred about a block away from the corner of Benning Road and Hanna Place Southeast, where firefighters also are supposed to be posted.
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Andrea Noble is a crime and public safety reporter for The Washington Times. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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