Mitchell died Friday after having been shot in the chest at around 6:00 PM outside her home on West 112th Street near Detroit Avenue, in the city's Edgewater neighborhood. According to police reports, when officers arrived at the scene, they found Mitchell on her living room floor with one arm slumped on the couch. Her body was taken to MetroHealth Medical Center, where she was pronounced dead.
According to her longtime partner, Shane Mitchell, Phylicia will be remembered for her devotion to hair styling while also being a loving and caring partner, despite her having a longtime battle with drug addiction.
Mitchel believes his partner’s murder was drug-related, though a motive in the case has yet to be determined. The police dispatch report said there was known drug activity at Phylicia Mitchell's home.
Mitchell also said that he and Phylicia had always considered themselves husband and wife, even though they were never officially married. He said friends initially were not supportive of their relationship, but over time Phylicia had won them over with her funny, sweet personality. "Everyone loved her," Mitchell said. "My nieces and nephews opened up to her so much. She was just so funny and kind." Phylicia legally changed her name to take Mitchell's last name on May 31, 2017.
The couple had met three decades ago in downtown Cleveland after Phylicia had run away from her family in Pittsburgh because they did not accept the fact that she was transgender.
Phylicia had received her GED from Job Corps in Cleveland and trained as a hairstylist. Mitchell said she had several customers, including some friends and relatives. According to Mitchell, the couple had lived in poverty. They both struggled to find work because of their addiction to drugs.
Mitchell had also said he had tried to talk Phylicia out of using drugs while the two argued about it two weeks ago and the couple had separated. "We should have never started doing drugs together," Mitchell said. "We'd have both had an even better life than we already did."
The couple still spoke regularly and met up a day before her death to talk and do some grocery shopping. "I miss her tremendously," Mitchell said. "That's my soulmate. We went together everywhere. We did everything together. We always held hands on the bus. Years ago people didn't respect that, but they do now."
Phylicia Mitchell is the first transgender person killed in Cleveland since Brandi Bledsoe in October 2016.
Rest in power Phylicia Mitchell!