A 28-year trans woman in Columbus, Ohio, was shot and then brutally beaten by her mother’s ex-boyfriend, who was living with the family at the time.
Rae’Lynn Thomas is the 19th trans person known to have been murdered in the U.S. this year, and the fifth transgender women to have been killed in the past two months.
Thomas’ mother, Renee Thomas, shared her daughter’s final words with the local news station:
“Mom, please please don’t leave me. Mom, I’m dying,” she said. “Mom, I love you. Tell my sisters and my brother I love them. Tell my family I love them. Mom, I’m dying, I’m dying, please don’t leave me.”
Renee Thomas said her daughter transitioned 10 years ago, and was accepted by her family. Shannon Thomas, Rae’Lynn’s aunt, said her niece was a performer who was dedicated to fashion.
According to Renee Thomas, her ex James Allen Byrd was very transphobic and often called Rae’Lynn “the devil,” a phrase he repeated before shooting Rae’Lynn.
“He was in the bedroom and he just came around the corner and shot my [daughter],” she said. After firing off two shots, Byrd grabbed Rae’Lynn and began beating her mercilessly.
“He took a light away from all of us that we can’t get back,” Shannon Thomas said to WBNS. “And he needs to pay. He needs to pay.”
Byrd is currently being held on a $2 million bond, but is unlikely to face hate crime charges because Ohio does not include gender identity in its hate crime statutes.