Charlotte police have arrested two men in the shooting deaths of two trans women, Jaida Peterson and Remy Fennell.
On Friday, police announced that the two men, Dontarius Long and Joel Brewer, had both been charged with two counts of murder, robbery with a dangerous weapon, and conspiracy to commit robbery with a dangerous weapon. Brewer has also been charged with possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.
Although police are still looking into possible motives, Lt. Bryan Crum said in a news conference Friday that the department doesn’t believe there are further risks to the public at this time. “I can tell you that our investigation has advanced to the point that I feel confident in telling you there is no one else at large that was part of this,” he said. “These two individuals, and these two individuals alone, are responsible for Jaida and Remy’s murder.”
Peterson, 29, had been found shot to death in a hotel on Easter Sunday. Then, Fennell — who’d originally been identified as Raheem Fennell — had been found shot to death in another area hotel last Thursday. Following Fennell’s murder, and the similarities between her death and Peterson’s, police issued an urgent warning for the trans community.
However, the arrests in the murders have not necessarily made the trans community feel safer. Charlotte-based trans organizer Ash Williams told NBC News that since it’s the police who often criminalize trans persons — and specifically, Black trans sex workers — their assurances mean little. “We keep us safe,” Williams told the news outlet. “The police do not keep us safe — they made that clear last week when they deadnamed and misgendered Jaida, so we don’t give a f– about that the police are talking about.”
Peterson had previously been misidentified in some initial police and media reports. In a Twitter post on Friday, Charlotte Pride referred to Fennell as “a Black trans woman who has yet to be properly identified” following the police department’s initial identification.