Charlotte-Mecklenburg police are urging the community to be on alert after two similar murders involving transgender sex workers just 11 days apart.
On Thursday, April 15, 2021, CMPD detectives said the two recent murders of transgender women happened in hotel rooms. They said the homicides are similar but are not sure yet if they are connected.
Police said 29-year-old Jaida Peterson was killed on Easter Sunday. She was found shot to death at the Quality Inn hotel on Queen City Drive in west Charlotte.
Detectives said another transgender woman, who was also a sex worker, was shot and killed Thursday morning at the Sleep Inn on North Tryon Street near East W.T. Harris Boulevard. Her name has not yet been released.
Police said it’s too soon to say if the cases are connected but because of the similarities, they’re concerned someone could be targeting transgender women.
CMPD is urging members of the LGBTQ community who are “engaged in sex work to exercise extreme caution” and to call 911 to report anything suspicious.
“This is a very critical time right now,” CMPD spokesperson Rob Tufano said. “There is probably, arguably, never a more vulnerable time for them than tonight — until this person, these people, whomever it is that is responsible for these cases, is apprehended.”
Channel 9 spoke with a friend of Peterson on Thursday.
“Jaida treated everyone with kindness and respect,” said Peacock.
Violence against transgender women is common, which is something Peacock is familiar with.
“Jaida had her fears about society and what society could do but one thing about Jaida is, Jaida trusted in the Lord in all that she did,” Peacock said.
Matt Comer with Charlotte Pride said the response from organizations and leaders has been immediate, with outreach to ensure people are protected.
“Please stay vigilant,” Comer said. “Check in with your friends, your family.”
No suspects have been identified.
“We are working to see if something could be connected to these cases,” Tufano said. “If there might be something bigger here.”