Detectives in St. Mary’s County, Maryland, are investigating the fatal shooting of a transgender teen, and the victim's family believes her killing was a hate crime.
Tasiyah Woodland, 18, was leaving the Big Dogs in Paradise bar in Mechanicsville early Friday morning when someone shot her, the St. Mary's County Sheriff's Office said.
The sheriff's office said the shooting did not appear to be a hate crime.
"We don’t have any indication at this point that ... the victim’s gender identity had anything to do with the actual incident," Capt. Edward Willenborg said.
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Detectives said they’re pursuing strong leads and reviewing surveillance camera video from inside and outside the bar.
Willenborg said Woodland had exited the bar and then there was some type of confrontation in the parking lot before the shooting at about 1:15 a.m.
Woodland's sister said she had a lot of friends, but also experienced hate because she was transgender.
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"She was one of a kind. She had no filter. She told you what it was and what it wasn't, and nobody liked that. I mean, she was the true definition of living life to the fullest," Woodland's sister, Ty’aliyah Woodland, said. "She wasn’t being sad. She was happy. She was living. How can you stop her? She was 18 going on 21. There was nothing you could tell her. … It's like she knew she had a purpose here."
It was not illegal for the teen to go into the bar, but she could not legally be served alcohol. The sheriff's office is still investigating whether she was served alcohol.
The owner of Big Dogs told News4 he didn’t know if Tasiyah Woodland had come into his establishment and that he provided surveillence video to detectives.
Ty’aliyah Woodland said those in the LGBTQ community should live life to the fullest like her sister.
"It’s their time to shine so let them shine because this is not OK, it's really not. It’s sad. Like, this was my sister and they took her life from me," she said.