Family fears loved one was killed for being transgender

Family fears loved one was killed for being transgender

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BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) -

A Birmingham family says their loved one was targeted in a hate crime because he dressed and lived as a woman.

Birmingham Police say Darius Frazier was shot to death near the intersection of 1st Avenue North and 52nd Street North on Sept. 20, 2011. 

"They said he had got shot in the head at close range and that the reason we didn't have a crime scene was because it happened in a car," Danyal Pettaway, Frazier's niece, said.

Police say they originally thought the victim was a woman because of the clothing, but when Frazier arrived at the hospital, doctors identified him as a man. Pettaway says her uncle went by the name "Gabrielle."

"He didn't have a sex change but he did dress as a woman and if you didn't know him you would think he was a woman, but he was always up front with people he met," Pettaway said.

Pettaway believes Gabrielle's lifestyle ultimately lead to his death.

"They didn't care who they killed they just wanted to kill someone of transgender. They wanted to kill somebody and I think it was a hate crime," Pettaway said.

"We don't know if it was a hate crime," Sgt. Johnny Williams with the Birmingham Police Department said. "We're not ruling it out. Right now we're just investigating it as a homicide."

Williams said investigators don't have any good leads right now and they hope talking about the case will encourage someone with information to come forward.

"We know someone knows something and they're just assuming someone else will come forward. We need them to step up and give us that anonymous call to crime stoppers. We don't need your name just the information to get closure to the family," Williams said.

"He may have had different lifestyle choices but everyone liked him," Pettaway said. "No one dislike him so this is like a total shock to all of us. That's why we're fighting so hard to find out what happened. It's not sitting well with none of us."

Pettaway says a witness saw a blue BMW or Chevy Impala driving away from the crime scene right after the shooting. If you have any information about this car or any other details that could help police, call crime stoppers at 205-254-7777.

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