Ava Le’Ray Barrin Becomes Youngest Trans Murder Victim In The U.S. This Year
Ava Le’Ray Barrin has become the latest trans woman of color victim of 2017 after a verbal altercation turned fatal.
The Atlanta Journal Constitution reports Barrin was killed on Sunday (June 25) outside of Riverview Apartments in Athens. Authorities are working with little details behind the shooting but learned that Barrin was shot by alleged friend Jalen Breon Brown, 21. The two were in a "domestic dispute" when the 17-year-old was shot in the chest. Brown, who has claimed the shooting was in self defense, was arrested and charged with murder and aggravated assault.
Despite AJC's reporting, both Georgia natives identified as women. Barrin was mentioned as Rayquann Deonte Jernigan. The teen is now the youngest trans woman of color killed in the U.S. this year. The Human Rights Campaign released a statement on Barrin's passing and demanded justice in her honor.
"HRC was horrified to learn that a 17-year-old transgender woman, Ava Le’Ray Barrin, was shot and killed in Athens, Georgia, on Sunday, June 25," the statement reads. "Like too many transgender victims of violence, Barrin’s name and gender were misreported by local law enforcement and media outlets. Announcements that fail to respect transgender victims’ identities not only upset the victims’ loved ones, but may lead to additional violence by creating the perception that law enforcement will not protect transgender people or pursue their attackers. HRC extends its sincere condolences to Ms. Barrin’s family and friends."
Tributes have poured though social media with friends describing Barrin as a “young full of life, beautiful soul.”
"Bravely, she made the decision to reveal to her closest loved ones, friends, and those around her that Rayquann was actually Ava Le’Ray Barrin," an online obituary reads. "A brave young woman who feared nothing; nobody, and especially not being herself."
A friend has vowed to dedicate her appearance during New York Fashion Week in September to Barrin by promoting LGBTQ lives and their importance.
Brown is currently being held at a Clark County Jail with no bond.