Police say they have arrested a 24-year-old man in connection with the Oct. 6 murder of a transgender woman.
Pedro Redding, of the 4500 block of N. 13th St., was arrested Sunday morningin the death of KieshaJenkins after police received a tip about a group of men who were robbing people in the area.
Jenkins, who may have been working as a prostitute, was beaten by a group of four men after getting out of a car at approximately 2:30 a.m. at 13th and Wingohocking.
“It’s not a hate crime at all,” said Philadelphia Police Capt. James Clark. “It had everything to do with the fact that she had money and they wanted to take it.”
The 22-year-old victim was shot in the back and pronounced dead just before 3 a.m.
Redding has four prior arrests for drugs, aggravated assault, robbery and firearms violations, according to authoriites. He was arrested in 2012 for robbing a transgender woman. Those charges were dropped when the victim failed to appear in court.
Clark said he is providing information that they believe will lead to the arrest of the other suspects.
The area where Jenkins was killed was known for having a brisk prostitution trade, police said. After the murder, the vice unit detained five or six women working in the area for what Clark said was “debriefing.” They told officers of numerous other robberies, not all of which were reported to police.
The killingprovided a new focus among trans activists, who fearedJenkins’death was a hate crime and say there is an epidemic of violence among transgender women.
Jenkins was the 20th trans woman killed this year in the U.S., according to The Advocate,and the second in Philadelphia. London Chanel was killed on May 18 in a dispute with Raheam Felton in an abandoned rowhouse they shared.
Nellie Fitzpatrick, the director of the mayor’s office of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender affairs, said the case shows that it is important for crime victims in the community to come forward.
Fitzpatrick said that regardless of whether Jenkins was working as a prostitute, she didn’t deserve to be killed.
“They don’t deserve to be beaten down and gunned down in the streets,” Fitzpatrick said.
Police say they are looking for others who were involved in Jenkins’ death.There is a $20,000 reward in the case.