Marquis “Kiki” Fantroy, a transgender woman, was killed during an argument that turned violent but police said Friday they don’t believe the murder was a hate crime.
Fantroy, 21, who was designated a male at birth but identified herself as a woman, was shot and killed before sunrise Wednesday morning on a street corner near an abandoned home in the Goulds neighborhood of Southwest Miami-Dade.
The victim’s mother had speculated publicly the past two days that her daughter was targeted because of her gender identity. But a law enforcement source familiar with the crime said Friday that police were “making progress” in the investigation and that they don’t believe Fantroy’s gender identity played any part in her death.
Police distributed fliers Friday morning in the neighborhood where the shooting took place at Southwest 224th Street and 115th Court. Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers is offering a $3,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of Fantroy’s shooter.
Miami-Dade Police Detective Lee Cowart said Fantroy was shot several times and that there was a group of people nearby when the shooting happened. Police haven’t said if the shooter was on foot or approached in a vehicle. Fantroy was transported by Miami-Dade Fire Rescue to the hospital where she was pronounced dead.
“Detectives have determined there were a number of witnesses and we’re asking the community to come forward,” Cowart said.
Fantroy’s mother Rhonda Comer said her daughter was killed coming home from a party at a friend’s home. During a lengthy interview at the family’s home Friday not far from the shooting, Comer often transitioned from “he” to “she” when speaking of her daughter, without a second thought.
“Whatever he was, he didn’t deserve to die. In this world you got people that will love you, you got people that dislike you. And that’s just life,” said Comer. “I think his love over-ruled. He didn’t deserve to die. He didn’t deserve to be shot.”
Fantroy’s death quickly caught the attention of the local transgender community. Friends visited the South Dade home where she lived with her mother to offer their condolences and spoke up about the difficulties the transgender community often faces in dealing with the public. One woman named Rovenoah posted a Youtube video about the shooting, saying “we’ve lost one of our sisters.”
Friday afternoon, seated on a couch between Fantroy’s sister and friends in a den adjacent to the living room of the family’s two-story townhouse, Comer choked up and held back tears while remembering her lost daughter.
At times, Comer’s other daughter put her arm around her mother to console her. Comer was skeptical about law enforcement claims that her daughter was not targeted because of her gender identity.
“This feeling is indescribable. The pain. The void. You know that feeling after losing a child and you losing a child for no apparent reason. Because she’s gay,” said Comer. “And my understanding, you know, my understanding was she was killed because of her desire to be a woman.”
Comer said Fantroy loved photography, “slaying” her hair and listening to music. She said her daughter decided to make the change more than a decade ago, while she was in school and before she even became a teenager. She said it was no secret to anyone who knew Fantroy, even remotely. The early days, though, were tough on her daughter, who was often bullied, Comer said.
“Kiki had a heart of gold. He was a very loving person, would do anything for his friends. Marquis had to deal with being bullied a lot” until recently, Comer said. “He started taking a stand for himself. He went through being beaten up, being talked down. He was the average teenager, the average 21-year-old. At that point they want to have fun. They want to be accepted. And that’s what he was.”
Kiki’s ultimate goal, according to her mother: To be the second coming of RuPaul, perhaps the most famous drag queen in America.
“That was her dream, RuPaul,” Comer said. “She wanted to be another RuPaul. She used to say one day she was going to California.”