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Community vigil seeks justice for transgender woman slain in 2015

A sketched photo of Casey “K.C.” Haggard is projected onto a wall above the message “Trans Lives Matter” during a vigil in central Fresno on Saturday, July 22, 2017, as the two-year anniversary of her unsolved slaying neared.
A sketched photo of Casey “K.C.” Haggard is projected onto a wall above the message “Trans Lives Matter” during a vigil in central Fresno on Saturday, July 22, 2017, as the two-year anniversary of her unsolved slaying neared. cyang@fresnobee.com

Almost two years after the still unsolved slaying of a transgender woman, community members gathered Saturday in central Fresno for a vigil and die-in in a bid for justice.

Casey or “K.C.” Haggard, 66, was “just transitioning,” said Jess Fitzpatrick, co-chairman of Trans-E-Motion, when she was fatally stabbed in 2015.

“We’re remembering a member of our community who was violently murdered on the streets of Fresno,” Fitzpatrick said. “Although the murder was caught on camera, a suspect has yet to be arrested.”

The vigil was hosted by Trans-E-Motion, a nonprofit that provides support and education for the transgender community.

What began with speeches at Blackstone and Michigan avenues was to end with the crowd walking to the area at Blackstone and Cornell where Haggard was killed.

A die-in, Fitzpatrick said ahead of the vigil, offered attendees a form of peaceful protest of what many see as an injustice against the transgender community and to encourage police to continue efforts to move the investigation forward.

About 30 people held glow sticks and signs while a sketched photo of Haggard was projected onto a wall and the message “Trans Lives Matter” displayed ahead of the march.

“We hope that putting on these memorials and these actions, that the authority in charge will see that the community is demanding justice,” Fitzpatrick said.

Haggard was killed July 23, 2015, after walking up to the passenger side of an SUV. The driver stabbed her in the neck, according to surveillance video.

Attempting to wave down a passing car, Haggard’s pleas for help go unanswered. Police found her slumped against a sidewalk pole.

At the one-year anniversary a year ago, police offered little other than to say the investigation is open and active. The suspect has been described as a Hispanic man in his 30s, around 5 feet, 9 inches tall and 160 pounds, with tattoos on both arms and short, dark hair.

“Whenever I think of her, I think of women I know in the community, and I think of the people who I see come into our community who are brand new,” Fitzpatrick said, “and I realize how important it is to communicate, to hold safe spaces, to have community support,”

Chueyee Yang: 559-441-6447, @chueyee15

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