Texas authorities are investigating the death of Merci Mack, a Black transgender woman who was found shot to death Tuesday morning.

According to the Dallas News, a passerby discovered the woman unconscious at around 6:15 a.m. in the parking lot of a Dallas apartment complex. Local police say residents allegedly heard gunshots an hour before Mack's body was found, "but there [were] no records of 911 calls at that time." The 22-year-old was declared dead at the scene with apparent gunshot wounds.

Police and media outlets deadnamed Mack in early reports, as investigators were reportedly "unable to confirm an alternate name for the victim." Deadnaming is a practice in which a trans person's birth-given name is used without their consent. 

Mack is reportedly the fourth black trans woman who was killed during Pride Month 2020, and is at least the 18th transgender person to be killed this year. According to the Human Rights Campaign, at least 14 trans and gender-nonconforming people have been been murdered in Texas since 2016—the vast majority of those people have been Black.

"What pains me most about the continued loss of Black trans life is that nearly everyone who is identified as Black knows the sting of stigma and the trauma of discrimination," David J. Johns, the Executive Director of the National Black Justice Coalition, said in a statement. "We know the horror of being the victim of violence simply because of socially constructed ideas of ‘Blackness.’ This shared experience alone should be enough for each of us, everyone who is Black, regardless of cis or trans experience, to collectively call for and do the work to end the violence that trans and non-binary members of our community experience—too often in silence. Merci Mack deserves better, as a community we failed her and so many of our trans siblings and this is beyond unacceptable."

Authorities are asking anyone with information in on Mack's death to contact Det. Brian Tabor at 214-671-3605 or brian.tabor@dallascityhall.com.

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