2 transgender women killed in separate shootings at Charlotte hotels, police say

CHARLOTTE, North Carolina -- Police in Charlotte, North Carolina, say two transgender women have been shot to death in apparent separate incidents over the last two weeks, but both were found dead in hotels.

The most recent of the killings happened on Thursday when one body was found inside a Sleep Inn hotel.

Before that, the body of 29-year-old Jaida Peterson was found on Easter Sunday at a Quality Inn hotel room in the city's west side.

According to police, both victims were sex workers, and detectives are not sure if the killings are necessarily connected.

"Both of those victims, transgender women. Both of them sex workers. Both of them shot to death in hotels," said Rob Tufano, spokesman for Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department. "Naturally, the assumption would be these shootings have got to be connected, right? We don't know. We just flat out don't know."

Tufano urged for the attention of the community saying that this is not something that happens frequently.

Addressing the LGBTQ community, especially, those who engage in sex work, Tufano said, "There is, arguably, a never more vulnerable time for them than tonight" until arrests are made.

"Detectives have yet to determine whether the two cases are connected, but given the circumstances, the CMPD is encouraging members of the LGBTQ community engaged in sex work to exercise extreme caution and immediately report anything suspicious by calling 9-1-1," police officials wrote in a statement.

The murders come in the midst of legislation growing within different state governments aimed at banning trans involvement in certain activities or parts of society.

SEE MORE: Texas GOP files ban on transgender women, restricting them from girls' sports

While bans are being considered, strides are being made to include transgender Americans into federal roles. For example, Dr. Rachel Levine became the first openly transgender federal official for a key post when she was confirmed as the assistant secretary of health under President Biden.

SEE ALSO: Transgender icon Tommie Ross fighting to build better future for all women
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Tommie Ross has been mentoring young women to make sure living authentically doesn't mean losing a job, home or even their lives.

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