A high-schooler in Chicago has confessed to killing a woman after she told him she was transgender, police say.Orlando Perez told officers he shot Selena Reyes-Hernandez twice in her home, then came back and fired into her lifeless body again, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.”It’s even more heinous crime,” a rep for the Chicago Police Department told reporters. “Like, ‘I’m going to kill someone because of how they choose to live their life.'”Reyes-Hernandez is at least the 16th transgender person killed so far in 2020.Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.
A high-school student in Chicago has confessed to murdering a transgender woman after she disclosed her gender identity to him, according to police.Orlando Perez told law enforcement he shot Selena Reyes-Hernandez twice in her home, then came back and fired his gun again into her lifeless body, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.At a press conference, a Chicago Police Department representative said detectives believe Perez, 18, and Reyes-Hernandez, 37, met some time around 5:30 am on May 31 and then went back to Reyes-Hernandez’s basement apartment in Marquette Park.
Courtesy of the Chicago Police Department
Police say Perez told them that, while there, he asked Reyes-Hernandez if she was a girl. When she said she was transgender, he told her he had to leave.According to prosecutors, surveillance video shows Perez leaving, then returning with a dark face covering on at around 6 am, according to the Sun-Times.
Footage also allegedly shows Perez taking out a handgun and hopping the gate outside Reyes-Hernandez’s home, then leaving several minutes later.He told detectives after finding her door open, he walked in and shot Reyes-Hernandez in the head and back.”He thought that was enough so he ran out,” Assistant State’s Attorney James Murphy said during Perez’s bond hearing. “But he kept seeing her face, so he went back there to do it again.”Perez shot her body several more times, Murphy said, then moved her car before fleeing the scene.
“It’s even more heinous crime, like, ‘I’m going to kill someone because of how they choose to live their life,'” a CPD rep said Thursday.Perez also said he moved Reyes-Hernandez’s car after her murder. A gun with the same type of bullets used to kill Reyes-Hernandez was discovered at Perez’s home, prosecutors said.Perez was arrested Sunday. Officers were able to track him down using video on Reyes-Hernandez’s cellphone.The murder took place the same weekend more than 1,200 people were arrested in Chicago during protests over the police-related killing of George Floyd. Other demonstrations nationwide have decried the murders of Black Americans and transgender people of color.
On Sunday, an estimated 15,000 people marched in Brooklyn in support of Black trans lives.Perez, who has no previous criminal record, now faces a first-degree murder charge. He is being held without bail until his next hearing on July 6. “Black and Brown trans lives matter,” Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot tweeted on Wednesday. “Selena Reyes-Hernandez’s life matters.”Condemning the murders of trans women of color, Lightfoot said. “being outraged is not enough.””We must fight and fight hard to keep our trans community protected and demand their attackers are brought to justice.”
Demonstrators protest for transgender rights in Chicago on March 3, 2017.
Scott Olson/Getty Image
At least 27 transgender and gender-nonconforming people were murdered in 2019, according to HRC. This year, there have been at least 16 trans people killed, including Dominique Fells, whose mutilated body was discovered earlier this month in Philadelphia.
In 2018, Illinois banned the so-called “gay panic” and “transgender-panic” defenses, barring attorneys from suggesting their client was reasonably provoked to violence by learning their victim’s actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity.Used in about half of all U.S. states, panic defenses have resulted in lesser charges and lighter sentences. In addition to Illinois, they have been banned in New York, California, and a handful of other states.