A transgender woman has died after she was shot in Washington, D.C. on the Fourth of July, and police are investigating her death as a homicide.
Deeniquia Dodds, 22, was attacked on July 4 just a few blocks from home, on the 200 block of Division Avenue NE, police said Thursday morning.
The woman known to loved ones as Dee Dee was "brutally shot in the neck and left to die," LGBT rights activist Earline Budd said in a statement.
"Her murder reminds us all of how often the transgender community is targeted for violence in our society," Budd said, identifying herself as a representative for Dodds' family.
Sixth District police officers were flagged down about 3 a.m.
The Northeast D.C. resident was found with an gunshot wound and rushed to a hospital.
She was placed on life support for nine days and died Wednesday, Dodds said.
Dodds was "a beautiful person," according to Joeann Lewis, who raised her.
"Loved to make you laugh. Loved to make you smile," she said.
Police did not immediately release any information on a suspect or what may have preceded the shooting. It is not being investigated as a hate crime.
"We have no information to suggest the crime was motivated by hate, at this point," Metropolitan Police Department spokesman Dustin Sternbeck said.
Family members worried about Dodds' safety because she worked as a prostitute, Lewis said. Dodds' family urged acceptance of transgender people.
"Regardless of what their sexuality is, they are human beings just like we are," Lewis said.
A vigil was held in Dodds' honor Saturday at 6:30 p.m. in the courtyard at 5255 Clay Terrace NE, where she lived with her family.
"The LGBTQ community encourages everyone to participate and show solidarity against hatred and violence," Budd said.
Dodds' funeral will be held the week of July 25. The former H.D. Woodson High School student would have turned 23 this month.
Transgender people face an increased rate of violence, and more transgender people were killed in 2015 -- 21 people -- than in any other year on record, according to the Human Rights Campaign, an advocacy organization.
Five other transgender people have been killed in D.C. since August 2002, according to police records.
Anyone with information is asked to call police at 202-727-9099. Information also can be submitted anonymously by sending a text message to 50411. A reward of as much as $25,000 is offered.
"Whoever did it, I hope that justice be done to them," the woman who raised Dodds said.