EAST HOLLYWOOD (CBSLA.com) — Less than 48 hours after a transgender woman fatally shot, members of an East Hollywood community gathered for a vigil.
Many who attended the Friday evening vigil told CBS2’s Peter Daut that, though they didn’t know the victim, identified by police as 47-year-old Aniya Parker, they felt compelled to pay their respects.
Parker was shot in the head following what police suspect was a botched robbery. The crime happened Thursday morning at Melrose and Kenmore avenues in East Hollywood.
“They shot her in her head. How cruel and unusual is that,” said Troy Isaac, a vigil attendee.
Another attendee, Kerri Cecil, said, “Someone innocent was taken from us for hate and it’s in the disguise of a robbery.”
However, the LAPD maintains that the incident was a botched robbery and not a hate crime.
But police said, once all of the evidence is gathered, that conclusion could change.
“Just because of a person’s lifestyle and they’re a victim of a violent crime, it doesn’t necessarily make it a hate crime,” said LAPD Capt. Brian Pratt.
Openly gay L.A. City Councilman Mitch O’Farrell agrees with police that, regardless of what the video shows, it’s premature to call it a hate crime.
“The police can only make that determination once the suspects are apprehended. That’s the key,” the councilman said.
He added, “This kind of brutality against anyone should never be tolerated in the city.”
Anyone with information about this case or the three suspects was asked to come forward.