Keanna Mattel, a 35-year-old transgender woman of color, was found lying dead in the street from a gunshot wound at around 6:00 AM on Friday morning. According to the Detroit Police Department, she was found on E. McNichols Rd. between Brush and Omira on the city's east side.
A 46-year-old male has been taken into custody, and the police are currently investigating the incident.
Mattel was active in Detroit’s ballroom scene and was a member of the House of Ebony. Just 3 years ago, she was interviewed by The Guardian after Amber Monroe was fatally shot in the same neighborhood. In the interview, Mattel had discussed many of the challenges faced by the transgender community in her area, such as extreme poverty and a lack of support from the local police.
“The police are unaware with our struggle so they have no sympathy for us,” she had told the Guardian. “Nobody ever asks, what happened to that person to get here?”
She had hoped to see the police get involved with assisting members of the transgender community by connecting them to resources to help them improve their lives.
“The way we clean up our community is not to just throw people in jail,” Mattel had said. “It’s to offer help, resources, jobs … helping girls get their GED.” She also continued, “The police ostracize us. They think we’re a joke. They don’t take us seriously.”
Mattel is now the 24th transgender person and the 18th transgender person of color to be murdered in 2018.
Rest in Power Keanna Mattel!