18-year-old murder victim’s gender preference could aid investigators

Advocates want officials to seriously consider whether Bell’s murder was pre-meditated
(Source: Facebook)
Updated: Aug. 31, 2018 at 5:08 PM CDT
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Trans advocates urge authorities to use Bell's chosen name for the remainder of their investigation.

SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) - An 18-year-old shot and killed has been identified as transwoman, according to Louisiana Trans Advocates, a transgender equality organization.

According to Rebecca Norris, president of LTA, Delvantrae Bell was known as Vontashia Bell.

Adrienne Critcher, political director of People Acting for Change and Equality, also known as PACE, said this detail could aid investigators in their search for suspects and evidence following Bell’s murder.

“It’s important we get to the bottom of this to find out what’s going on,” Critcher said. “This will take them into the transgender community for people who know her, who would know the places she frequents, and might be able to help pin point where she was and what she might have been doing when the crime was committed.”

Critcher is advising the Shreveport Police Department refer to Bell as Vontashia, as they continue to dig for details.

“If the wrong name is used, that could thwart the police from conducting a thorough and accurate investigation,” Critcher said.

Bell was found gunned down on Harrison Street early Thursday morning, and later taken pronounced dead at University Health.

Though details regarding the shooting remain scarce, Critcher wants officials to seriously consider whether Bell’s murder was pre-meditated.

“This might have been a hate crime and trans gender people, especially trans-gender women of color are more prone to violent hate crimes than other vulnerable groups,” Critcher said.

KSLA reached out to SPD to find out if they plan to take these details into consideration as they continue to learn more about Bell’s killing, but they have not returned our calls.

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