TDoR 2002 / 2002 / August / 12 / Stephanie Thomas

Stephanie Thomas

Age 19

12 Aug 2002
Washington, D.C. (USA)

TDoR list ref: Aug 2002/Stephanie Thomas

Stephanie Thomas
Stephanie Thomas [photo:]

Stephanie and her best friend Ukea Davis (who was also transgender) were both shot dead in the same car.

Stephanie and Ukea were best friends who did everything together. They met at a local Washington organisation for GLBT teens called SMYAL, transitioned together, shared an apartment - and died together in a hail of bullets on 12th August 2002.

Around 11:30 p.m. the night of the 11th, 19-year-old Thomas and her best pal, 18-year-old Ukea Davis, reportedly told friends they were going to a nearby gas station for cigarettes. Nobody can say for sure where they actually went.

But just about everybody in the city knows that a little after 3 a.m., the friends were sitting in Thomas' Camry at a stop sign on the corner of 50th and C. Almost home. Then a car came up beside them, and the two were pelted with fire from a semiautomatic weapon.

According to an eyewitness report, another car approached after the shooting. A man got out to see what had happened. Davis was already dead. When the man nudged Thomas' shoulder to see if she was still alive, she moaned in confirmation. But her helper fled as the first car returned. The gunman got out and fired more shots, making sure Thomas was dead.

By the time rescue workers reached the bloody car, she was. Like her friend's, Thomas' body had been pumped full of bullets — at least 10 apiece.

The location they died was the same Washington DC street corner where a few years earlier Tyra Hunter had the fatal car accident that led to her death.

Their killer was finally identified in July 2020, three years after his death in a shooting.

Ukea Davis, 18, and Stephanie Thomas, 19, were found dead in a car in 2002. Both had been shot over 10 times.

Almost 20 years later police in Washington DC finally found a suspect in the case however he died three years ago in a fatal shooting, the Washington Post reports.

Authorities began investigating the case again earlier this year when Detective Danny Whalen found a letter that referenced a person who allegedly had information about the killings. The letter was discovered in an old file, but had never been followed up on.

D.C. Police Chief Peter Newsham admitted that the murder of the two best friends was “clearly a hate crime” and said suspect Michael Dupree Price had been with the women on the night they were killed.

Police tracked down two new witnesses in the cold case who told them that Price killed the women when he discovered that they were trans. Investigators subsequently tracked down two new witnesses, who each told Whalen that Price “essentially told him what he did”.

I think it’s a situation of how a fresh set of eyes looking at an old case can be valuable,” Newsham said.

“For the families that are involved, the only thing we can really give to them is finding out who is responsible for their loved one’s death.”

Washington said while many accepted Thomas’s transition, others, including kids at the school Thomas attended, taunted and sometimes assaulted Thomas, prompting Thomas to quit high school before graduating.

Stephanie and Ukea were buried together and share a headstone.

Report added: 22 Dec 2018. Last updated: 11 Mar 2024

Trigger warning

This site contains reports of violence against transgender people, and links to detailed reports which contain graphic imagery.

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