Zella Ziona is the 22nd transgender woman killed this year, and her family suspects that it was definitely a hate crime.

Police have arrested 20-year-old Rico LeBlond in connection with Ziona’s murder, and he’s now facing a first degree murder charge, but officials are looking into a hate crime charge as well.

According to authorities, LeBlond and Ziona were friends and LeBlond killed her because she “began acting flamboyantly towards LeBlond and greatly embarrassed Leblond in front of his peers.”

Ziona died from multiple gun shot wounds to the head and groin and her family wants answers and hate crime charges brought against LeBlond.

“I do believe in my heart that this was a hate crime,” said Kalany Thomas, Ziona’s aunt. Various members of Ziona’s family said that she has had issues with people because she’s transgender.

“I just want to know why?” Said Sade Thomas. “Why did you take such a beautiful, amazing soul like that and he was never the type of person to hate you or do anything to you?”

Family members held a vigil on Friday for Ziona and friends are still coping with the loss.

“She was just amazing,” Barbie Johnson told NBC Washington. “When Zella’s around, there’s not a single frown in the room.”

Image via Facebook

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  • ApMillz-CT

    Dude and Zella were probably intimate and then Zella started acting out b/c he wouldn’t acknowledge him/her and dude flipped out when his boys called him on it… Smdh

    • [email protected]

      That’s a plausible scenario. They might have been lovers.

    • *NmySkynn70*

      i just hope she didn’t trick him and then he found out and killed her.

    • [email protected]

      Good Afternoon Sister,

      I think everyone knew around the area since Zella was open about it. It is very tragic story all the way around.

    • *NmySkynn70*

      good evening brotha, yes, it is sad & tragic and i just hope they investigate with vigor as they would with any other tragic murder, one often wonders and feels that anything outside of the norm (non-white individuals & gay/lesbian individuals) won’t get the same type of intense dedication in solving said crime, but i hope i’m wrong . . .God bless the family

    • [email protected]

      Very Gracious Words Sister.

      At the end of the day, a family is mourning. We want no family to suffer a loss of their child. Anyone responsible for the young person’s murder should be punished and held accountable. A total investigation is in order and we know about the double standards in how people are treated in Western society. Minorities in this society are heavily mistreated. The family deserves answers, prayers, and condolences. Your words reminds all of us that injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. Certainly, we want justice.

    • *NmySkynn70*

      Amen brotha, can always count on you for your good commentary, have a gr8 night

    • [email protected]

      Have a Blessed Night as well Sister.

  • [email protected]

    This is a tragedy. There is no question that this murder is a straight up hate crime. We have a serious epidemic of the murder of transgender human beings. No matter how people feel about transgender people, no one should be harassed, assaulted, or murdered point blank period exclamation point. It is a disgrace that some people want to murder others. Zella’s life is a reminder that we have to confront hate, bigotry, discrimination, and oppression. I send prayers and condolences to Zella’s friends and family. RIP Zella Ziona.

  • *NmySkynn70*

    how pretty!! so sad to hear of this yet again. RIP.