Police make arrests in transgender killings in Charlotte

A police department spokesman cautioned LGBTQ residents who engage in sex work to be on guard.

Update: Friday, April 16, 5 p.m.

The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department arrested two men Friday and charged them with killing two transgender women in Charlotte hotels.

The men, ages, 21 and 33, were charged with a range of crimes, including murder, robbery with a dangerous weapon, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, and conspiracy to commit robbery with a dangerous weapon.

CMPD did not say what evidence may have linked the suspects to the killings.

After the recent killings of two transgender women in Charlotte, homicide detectives are asking for the publics help in solving the crimes — and advising LGBTQ residents engaged in sex work to exercise “extreme caution.”

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The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department has not determined that the two killings are related but issued the caution “given the circumstances” of the two cases.

In addition to being Black transgender women, both victims were sex workers, and both were found dead in hotel rooms, according to CMPD.

Speaking to reporters on Thursday, CMPD spokesman Rob Tufano said both cases bore “pretty consistent similarities.”

“This isn’t something we see frequently — something we rarely see,” he said, “and it’s important that the community understands that.” 

 On April 4, Easter Sunday, CMPD officers performing a welfare check at a hotel in northwest Charlotte found Jaida Peterson unresponsive. MEDIC pronounced her dead at the scene.

Eleven days later, when police officers responded to a reported disturbance inside a hotel on N. Tryon Street, they found a victim with fatal stab wounds, according to a statement released by CMPD. (Tufano said on Thursday the victim was shot.) As of late Thursday, authorities had not released the second victim’s name because family members had not been notified.

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“We’ve been working tirelessly — our detectives nonstop — trying to connect dots here, gather evidence, conduct interviews.” Tufano said. “That continues at this very hour. A lot of work (is) going on behind the scenes, and we’re going to continue to do that work.”  

Anyone with information is asked to call 704-432-TIPS and speak directly to a homicide detective. The public also can leave information anonymously by contacting Crime Stoppers at 704-334-1600 or http://charlottecrimestoppers.com/.

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