Around 2:30 a.m. on November 27, Oklahoma City police officers responding to a welfare check following a disturbance at the Oxford Inn found the body of Brooklyn BreYanna Stevenson, 31. The transgender woman had been shot multiple times.
Sometime later, police received a tip from a witness that would lead them to their suspect in the killing. The witness reported that Brandon Michael Tyson, 31, of Norman, shot and killed Stevenson after the two "got in a fight."
At the time of the murder, police said they did not know the motive for the killing, and they did not know whether Stevenson's identity as a transgender person played any role in the motive for murder. However, GLAAD, a national LGBTQ advocacy group, notes that Stevenson's death marked the 25th known murder of a transgender person in 2017, further noting that victims of fatal trans violence are predominantly people of color.
The organization also noted that 2016 was the deadliest year for transgender homicide, with 27 deaths. On December 13, a 26-year-old transgender woman in Houston was murdered, bringing this year's total to 26 and putting 2017 on track to meet or exceed 2016's record number. Seals was also a transgendered woman of color.
According to GLAAD intern and trans activiest Arielle Gordon, "year after year [trans women of color] face the highest rates of violence because they face three intersecting forms of oppression: racism, sexism and transphobia.”
An Oklahoma County judge issued an arrest warrant for Stevenson, and police arrested him and booked him into the Oklahoma County Jail on a complaint of first degree murder. He is held without bond.
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