A transgender gang fight left a teenager dead at an apartment complex in downtown Athens, Georgia on Sunday.
Rayquann Deonte Jernigan, 17, who went by the name Ava Le’Ray Barrin, was shot by another transgender man in the parking lot of the Riverview Apartments on College Avenue.
21-year-old Jalen Breon Brown, pictured below, was arrested and charged with murder and aggravated assault.
Police say neither Jernigan nor Brown lived in the apartment complex. They were visiting other transgenders who lived at the complex.
“It started out as an argument between friends of the suspect and victim,” said Capt. Jerry Saulters, commanding officer of the Athens-Clarke County police Criminal Investigations Division.
Saulters said Brown was on the second floor of one of the buildings arguing with Jernigan and two friends who were in the parking lot at about 11:45 a.m. Brown reportedly fired a “warning shot” near Jernigan before he went down to the parking lot where he and Jernigan began fighting.
At some point during the scuffle, Jernigan was shot in the chest. He was unresponsive when police arrived, and was pronounced dead at a local hospital.
Brown claimed self-defense, but Saulters said his motive doesn’t hold up.
“It did not hold up because he fired towards the victim prior to the fight, and a fight does not constitute deadly force,” Saulters said.
Several transgender organizations, including one group based in England, released statements condemning the local newspapers for “misgendering” Jernigan by referring to him using male pronouns.
“What saddens and infuriates us as an organization that seeks to represent and empower black trans women is that Ava was just 17 years old and hadn’t even had a chance to follow her dreams yet,” Black Transwomen Inc. said in a statement. “Ava has become not only the 14th trans woman murdered in the U.S. in 2017, she unfortunately is now the youngest one killed this year. She is also the 12th African American trans person killed this year.”
The statement failed to mention that another gender confused individual killed Jernigan.