Paloma VazquezAge 29
26 Feb 2022
Houston, Texas (USA)
Paloma was found dead with gunshot wounds in her apartment on the evening of Saturday 26th February.
A transgender woman was fatally shot Saturday inside her apartment in southwest Houston, police said.
The woman, who has not been publicly identified, was found with multiple gunshot wounds in the apartment in the 6600 block of Dunlap. Her boyfriend initially called police at 8 p.m. after coming upon her body, according to police.
Police said the woman appeared to live alone, and the door was unlocked when officers arrived. They found multiple shell casings in the apartment.
According to a recent report from the Human Rights Campaign, an LGBTQ+ advocacy organization, last year was the deadliest on record for transgender and gender non-conforming people with at least 47 killed.
Anyone with information about the Houston case can call the Houston Police Department's homicide division at 713-308-3600 or Crime Stoppers 713-222-TIPS (8477).
Paloma's identity only emerged subsequently. She had emigrated to the USA from Latin America 6 months earlier.
The transgender woman shot to death in Houston has been identified as 29-year-old immigrant Paloma Vazquez.
Vazquez, who was not identified in initial reports, was found dead in her apartment just days before Texas Gov. Greg Abbott directed the state to interpret trans-affirming care as child abuse. According to the Organization for Latina Trans in Texas, Vazquez immigrated to the United States six months ago.
“As most trans women who are here from Latina America, they are here because they are scared of being killed in their own country,” a friend of the victim, Gia Pacheco, told KTRK Houston. “She had just moved into her new apartment and was very excited about decorating.”
Another friend, Valentin Terrazas noted that Latin America can be particularly dangerous for transgender women. Transgender women, particularly Black and Latinx women, also face high rates of violence across the United States.
“There’s a lot of transphobia in Latin America,” friend Valentin Terrazas added. “They come here for refuge and to better their lives and have a future here.”
Paloma had only arrived in the USA 6 months earlier, having fled Honduras because of the violence there.
Vazquez, who had arrived in the U.S. six months ago, was involved with the Organization for Latina Trans in Texas. A spokesperson for the group told the Daily News that the 29-year-old was from Honduras and that she had fled her native country because she was afraid of being targeted because she was trans.
On Thursday, a large group of friends, human rights activists, as well as members of the transgender community gathered outside Houston City Hall to honor her life and bring attention to the alarming increase in the number of killings of transgender women of color in the U.S.