Charlotte-Mecklenburg police are telling members of the LGBTQ community to "exercise extreme caution" after two transgender women have been killed under similar circumstances in the Charlotte area in the last 11 days.
CMPD is not sure if the homicides are connected, but said both victims were transgender women operating as sex workers, and both were found shot to death in hotel rooms.
“Naturally, the assumption would be these have got to be connected, right?" Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police spokesman Rob Tufano said Thursday in a news conference. "We don’t know. We just flat-out do not know at this point, but they're consistent enough where we have circumstances and similarities that it’s gotten our attention. And it needs to get the attention of the community."
On April 4, Jaida Peterson, 29, was found shot to death in a Quality Inn hotel on Queen City Drive in west Charlotte when police responded to a welfare check call.
Shortly before 2:30 a.m. on Thursday, a second woman was found shot to death in a Sleep Inn hotel on North Tryon Street in the University City area. The second victim has not yet been identified.
The similarities in the cases led CMPD to issue the urgent warning Thursday evening: "They have to be hyper-cautious, hyper-vigilant in who they engage with," Tufano said.
"This is information we want to land loud and clear, especially with our LGBTQ community," he said. "They have to know that there is probably never a more arguably vulnerable time for them."
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