A transgender woman was fatally stabbed in a park in East Harlem during the early morning hours of March 28, according to police.
Cops said they responded to a call of a stabbing in process shortly after 1:30 a.m. on Saturday morning at East 128th Street and Third Avenue on the edge of Harlem River Park. Officers arrived and found a 33-year-old woman stabbed in the neck. She was transferred to Harlem Hospital, where she was pronounced dead.
Multiple news outlets, including the New York Daily News and New York Post, reported that the victim was sitting on a bench in the park when someone approached her and the pair engaged in a verbal altercation.
The suspect allegedly proceeded to stab the victim before taking off on a red motorized scooter, but police did not confirm details about the scooter and the altercation when asked by Gay City News on March 31, saying only that “the investigation is active and ongoing.”
Authorities have not released the name of the victim, citing a need to notify her family, but a source in the city’s ballroom community said she was known there as Lexi of the House of Ebony.
Beyond what the NYPD initially reported, details about the murder are scarce and also contradictory: No arrests have been made in the case and police have not identified a suspect. The Daily News reported police are searching for surveillance footage in the area.
Lavonia Brooks, who was quoted by the Daily News and the Post and described as Lexi’s friend, recalled her as someone who loved petry, fashion, and makeup.
“I really looked up to her because of her tolerance and respect,” Brooks told the Daily News. “Lexi had a beautiful heart, she was very gifted.”
The Daily News reported that Brooks had witnessed an altercation between Lexi and another trans woman earlier in the evening and speculated that led to the fatal encounter later in the park. The Post said the altercation Brooks witnessed happened in the park. The NYPD would not comment on either report.
Mayor Bill de Blasio reacted to the news in a Twitter post on March 28.
“My heart breaks for this woman and for her family,” de Blasio wrote on Twitter. “We WILL find the person responsible for this heinous crime and bring them to justice. New York City stands with our trans community, now and always.”