Transgender woman shot to death, police look for clues

Police arrived in vans and fanned out along the 3600 block of Fairview Avenue in Forest Park, slipping fliers under car windshields and knocking on doors, asking if anyone knows anything about Crystal Edmonds or the person who put a bullet in her head this morning. 

It was 3:18 a.m. Police found Edmonds, a 32-year-old African-American transgender women, bleeding on the sidewalk, shot in the back of the head. She died at a hospital at about 11 a.m., according to T.J. Smith, the chief police spokesman. 

A man sitting on a porch a block over says he just heard the news. Detectives in suits across the street are listening to a man with a high voice, giving a soliloquy on the evils of prostitution and transgender people: "This is a problem, though, this is a problem in our country, you know what I'm saying?"

Smith tells reporters that he doesn't know whether Edmonds' transgender identity played any role in her murder. 

Police cadets in crisp uniforms lead TV news cameramen up Fairview and down Grantley. Another local resident tells a gray-suited homicide detective that Police Commissioner Kevin Davis "visits my church sometimes." The house next door is for sale. The sign on the front reads "FORECLOSURE." 

A used condom, purple, lies in the street.

"We know this area," Smith tells the re-assembled reporters. "We've had some complaints of prostitution. We've had complaints of illegal activity." 

Sgt. Kevin Bailey, the department’s "LGBT liaison" since last October, stands behind him. People in the transgender community "sometimes are vulnerable" to attack, Smith says. 

Police are offering a cash reward for tips about Edmonds' murder.

The last murder in this neighborhood was Keith Vaughn, a 42-year-old African-American man, who was shot to death in his home two blocks southeast on January 18. That crime remains unsolved. 


Click here for more from Edward Ericson Jr. or email Edward at eericson@citypaper.com

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