“She had just moved into her new apartment and was very excited about decorating,” said the victim’s friend, Gia Pacheco.
Paloma Vazquez, a transgender woman, was found shot dead in her apartment in the Gulfton area of southwest Houston on Saturday. Police said there was no sign of forced entry into her flat at 6600 Dunlap and she had been shot twice.
“Every time a trans person is killed, they are killed because they are trans,” Pacheco said.
The Organization for Latina Trans in Texas said Vazquez had just immigrated to the United States six months ago from Latin America.
ORIGINAL STORY: Transgender woman found dead with multiple gunshot wounds in southwest Houston apartment, HPD says
“Like most trans women who come from Latin America, they are here because they are afraid of being killed in their own country,” Pacheco said.
“There is a lot of transphobia in Latin America,” said another friend, Valentin Terrazas. “They come here to take refuge and to improve their lives and have a future here.”
Vazquez is the latest in a string of recent murders of trans women in Houston.
Iris Santos, 22, was shot and killed while sitting outside a Chick-Fil-A restaurant in Westheimer in April 2021.
SEE ALSO: Mother of murdered Houston trans woman hopes for justice
“We are here to represent them and continue to fight for them,” Terrazas said.
Police are still looking for the gunmen in both murders. The group asks for justice and respect.
“We exist. We pay taxes. We pay bills. We built this country too, trans people, and we need respect,” said fellow friend Tayze Duarte.
Police were unable to locate Vazquez’s next of kin.
If you know anything about his murder, you can call Crime Stoppers anonymously at 713-222-TIPS (8477).
For more on this story, follow Shelley Childers on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Copyright © 2022 KTRK-TV. All rights reserved.