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Watch: Trans Woman Sara Blackwood Shot and Killed in Indianapolis

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Friday October 16, 2020

Sara Blackwood was shot and killed on the evening of Oct. 11 while walking home from work and died soon after in the hospital. She is the 33rd transgender or gender non-conforming person to die violently this year, media outlets report.

Blackwood was walking home from her shift at an Indianapolis fast food restaurant when she was shot. The crime was reported at about 10 p.m. Blackwood was still alive when first responders arrived, but she died in the hospital during surgery, according to a report at Planet Transgender. Blackwood had been in a longtime domestic partnership with Avery Ellis Blackwood, who provided what details he could on the case to the outlet.

Blackwood also worked a Kroger's grocery store, according to loal news channel WXIN. Jimmy Johnson, a co-worker at Kroger's, told WXIN that Blackwood was "very sweet and a very good person," and called her death "senseless."

Describing Blackwood as "very shy," Jones told the news channel that with her death, "the world at large is missing a very, very kind, responsible person."

Early reports of Blackwood's killing referred to her as a man, noted local newspaper the Indianapolis Star.

Transgender equality advocates spoke out against the crime, with the executive director of local advocacy group GenderNexus, Julie Walsh, telling the media, "Sara deserved to walk home safely and to be home with her family that night."

Added Walsh: "This violence does hurt people. Not only physically, but also emotionally, physiologically, and it has an effect on members of the community. It can leave them feeling vulnerable."

The Human Rights Campaign issued a release on Blackwood's killing, noting that 2020 had now broken the record for the number of known fatal attacks against trans and gender non-conforming people in a calendar year, with 33 fatalities.

HRC Director of Community Engagement for the Transgender Justice Initiative Tori Cooper took note of how a number of those killings have happened within a short span of time recently.

"Six transgender women have been killed over the last 23 days — which is just over three weeks — in this country. This violence is heartbreaking and horrifying. It must end," Cooper said.

No suspects have been apprehended in the case, and authorities have not indicated any motive.

Watch the WXIN news clip below.

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.