The DC Coalition of Black Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Men and Women calls for community support and information regarding the recent shooting death of Crystal Smith of S.E., Washington, D.C.

Ms. Smith, a 20-year-old lesbian, was shot to death and two of her friends were wounded while the three stood on a street near their homes in Southeast D.C., shortly before midnight on May 16.  Crystal Smith died minutes after being struck in the head by a bullet fired by an unknown gunman who wore a mask, according to Capt. C.V. Morris, commander of the D.C. Police Homicide Squad. 

Smith’s mother, Natasha Byrd, said she believes her daughter was targeted because she was a lesbian.  But Morris said police have no evidence to indicate the incident was a hate crime. 

"We don’t know what the motive is, but we can’t rule anything out," Morris told reporters in a news briefing on May 17.  "If it’s a hate crime, it won’t change anything," he said.  "We investigate everybody’s homicide the same way." 

The captain said homicide officials called the department’s Gay & Lesbian Liaison Unit for assistance in the investigation.  "We’re calling on the community to come forward with information to help us identify the persons responsible for this," said Sgt. Brett Parson, commander of the GLLU.  "So far, we don’t have evidence to classify this as a hate crime, but we very much want people to help us find that evidence if it exists," Parson said (The Washington Blade 19 May 2006). 

If you have information regarding this shooting, please contact Sgt. Brett Parson of the Gay and Lesbian Liaison Unit at 1-877-495-5995 (pager) or 202-727-5427 (voicemail).