UPDATED: 9:30 a.m. ET, April 28, 2023 —
A 17-year-old has surrendered to police after being identified as a person of interest in the shooting death of Koko Da Doll, a transgender Black woman who starred in the documentary Kokomo City.
According to reports, the teenager, who turned himself in to Atlanta police on Wednesday, faces charges of murder and aggravated assault. He also faces a count of possessing a gun during the commission of a felony.
The teenager admitted to being the man in the photo that was released by police but denied shooting Rasheeda Williams, also known as Koko Da Doll.
According to the police report, a witness saw a man arguing with Williams before hearing gunshots.
On Tuesday, Atlanta police released images of a teen they believed could be connected to the fatal shooting of 35-year-old Rasheeda Williams, aka Koko Da Doll.
Atlanta police shared surveillance footage from a local convenience store, which shows a man they say is a person of interest in the case. In the photos, the man can be seen wearing a grey hoodie and dawning a Black ski cap.
On April 18, Williams was found unconscious by police near an intersection in southwest Atlanta. She had been shot at least once, and she was later pronounced dead at the scene by paramedics.
“We are saddened to hear about the death of Rasheeda Williams aka Koko Da Doll,” Sundance wrote in a statement. “We were honored to have her at the Festival this year with KOKOMO CITY, where she reminded Black trans women, ‘we can do anything, we can be whatever we want to be.’ It is a tragic loss.”
Koko Da Doll was a star in the making. She gained notoriety from her appearance in the hit 2023 Sundance Film Festival documentary Kokomo City, where she gave the audience an inside look into the life of a transgender woman and the dangers for Black transgender sex workers.
“I feel like she wanted to get her story out,” her sister Kilya Williams told Fox 5. “She’s not ashamed of who she was. Because if she was ashamed of it, she would have never did the documentary. She was proud of who she was because she came from a loving, accepting family.”
Atlanta police say they are now investigating whether the deaths of Koko Da Doll and two transgender women should be considered hate crimes.
“We understand the impact violence has on all our communities and we understand some acts of violence bring about legitimate concerns of whether the incident was motivated by hate,” said the APD.
The APD also noted that while the three cases involving the killing of trans women “are unrelated, we are very aware of the epidemic-level violence black and brown transgender women face in America.”
According to Human Rights Campaign, a political lobbying organization and LGBTQ advocacy group, last year, at least 38 transgender people (were) fatally shot or killed by other violent means.” HRC noted that the figure didn’t include unreported incidents. In 2021, a record number of violent hate crimes committed against transgender and gender non-conforming people included at least 50 deaths, HRC reported.
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