Zella Ziona — a striking, stylish transgender woman who was an inspiration to many — was found dead in Gaithersburg, Maryland. She was shot multiple times in the head. Learning of her death one friend posted on Instagram: “You helped me become the person that I am today. You encouraged me to be myself when it came to being the that [sic] I wanted to become.”
The 21-year-old Ziona was originally identified by police as DeAndre Smith before police revised public information releases and identified her as Ziona. She was shot in an alley behind a shopping center. 20-year-old Rico Leblond, who police say knew the victim, has been charged with 1st degree murder.
SHE HAS A NAME: Zella Ziona, killed last night in Gaithersburg, MD. She is 21st transgender woman killed this year. pic.twitter.com/eTMdqwXjik
— Michael Skolnik (@MichaelSkolnik) October 16, 2015
MCP onscene of a shooting in 9600 blk of Lost Knife Rd. Adult female w/ gun shot wound to head. Police activity in area updates to follow
— Montgomery Co Police (@mcpnews) October 15, 2015
I just cant believe that you are gone @zella_ziona. I love you so much, we was just talking you the other day. I miss already. You helped me become the person that I am today. You encouraged me to be myself when it came to being the that I wanted to become. You helped me know the dos and donts of cross dressing and now you gone. Like forreal tho, you out of all people but its ok because the people that killed you will get theres. I just want to let you know that even though we had our ups and downs. I love you sis and I will never forget what you done for me. #RIPZellaZiona #TheBaddestTranny #KnowThat
A photo posted by ❤Curly-Blondé❤ Love (@ckasuperstar) on