Jazlynn Johnson, a Trans Teen From Alaska, Killed in Las Vegas

This article contains a description of fatal violence against a trans teenager.

Jazlynn Johnson, an 18-year-old trans girl, was shot and killed in Las Vegas earlier this month.

According to local CBS affiliate CLASSa man called 911 in the early hours of May 6, and told the authorities that his 17-year-old son had shot a friend, but would not say where. After going to the man’s home, officers with the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department detained the 17-year-old and asked where the shooting occurred, per CLASS. Upon arriving in the area, officers found Johnson in a car with a gunshot wound. She was pronounced dead at the scene.

The teen was taken into custody at the Clark County Juvenile Hall, and faces charges of open murder with the use of a deadly weapon and destroying or concealing evidence. According to a police report obtained by CLASSthe suspect had left home the night before and came home at 3 a.m. “hysterical and in a panic.” His parents said that he told them that the shooting was an “accident,” and that he said, “I did something wrong, I shot my friend.” He asked his parents not to call the police, but they said that they had to.

Little information about Johnson herself is publicly available. According to Pittsburgh Lesbian Correspondentsa blog dedicated to tracking the deaths of trans people, Johnson’s social media profiles stated that she was from Dillingham, Alaska, and that she had been living in Carson City, Nevada. She was reportedly a senior at Pioneer Academy in Carson City, and was recently featured in an article with the Nevada Appeal about the Jobs For Nevada’s Graduates program, a nonprofit that “offers support and job training for underserved youth.” In the article, Johnson said that she wanted to become a diesel mechanic, and said that the program “connects me to programs, what trade schools I want to go to, and gives me options.”

André Wade, the State Director of Silver State Equality, Nevada’s statewide LGBTQ+ civil rights organization, said in a statement“Mere words lack the capacity to convey the LGBTQ+ community’s sadness at this incomprehensible violence and our deepest sympathy for Jazlynn’s family and friends.”

“While a 17-year-old boy has been arrested and charged with murder, we urge continual investigation to determine if this can be charged as a hate crime,” Wade continued. “Crimes against transgender and gender non-conforming people – especially transgender youth of color – continue to escalate nationwide.”

In a separate press release, GLAAD CEO Sarah Kate Ellis said that Johnson’s death “is the latest in a pattern of senseless deaths among transgender, nonbinary, and gender nonconforming youth across America who face rampant harassment and violence simply because of who they are.”

“The hostile climate of anti-LGBTQ rhetoric and proposed legislation has a real-world impact on LGBTQ lives,” she said. All of us who believe in love and kindness have an obligation to speak out to support every young person’s right to live freely as themselves, in safety, peace, and acceptance.”

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