LA trans activists are naming the death of Viccky Gutierrez the second transgender murder of 2018. Gutierrez died in a fire that completely gutted her LA apartment building. And while the coroners office have yet to name the cause of death — a dear friend of Gutierrez, Bamby Salcedo showed up as the fire was raging and said air reeked of gasoline but she was asked by the police not to say anything about it.
The Los Angeles Fire Department was called at 3:16 AM on January 10, 2018, to 1721 South New Hampshire Avenue in, where firefighters arrived quickly to find heavy smoke and flames showing from the second floor — where Gutierrez resided.
“Our community is mourning once again the horrific results of the fucked up society in which we all live in,” Salcedo wrote on her Facebook page, “trans women deserve to exist in this world! Fuck all of those mother fuckers who feel uncomfortable because of who we are and think that is ok to kill us.”
Gutierrez was a member of the TransLatin@ Coalition’s Los Angeles organization. She was described by her close friends and community as “the nicest girl in the world,” whose “smile would give anyone comfort,” and “an inspiration for many of us.”
Sixty firefighters fought their way through thick smoke to battle the growing fire. They discovered the remains of Gutierrez who was “beyond medical help,” reported by Planet Transgender. No other injuries were reported from this fire as it was contained to the unit of fire origin and large attic above. Salcedo has suspected that Gutierrez was murdered before her apartment was set on fire, as no obvious factors were noted that would impede her ability to exit in case of an emergency. Her death is considered suspicious and is under active investigation by the LAPD.
Gutierrez has no biological family residing in the U.S. and her community is hoping to raise funds to fly her body back to Honduras, where she is from, to provide a proper burial. Salcedo has raised $5,771 of her $10,000 goal on GoFundMe.com within 24 hours.
Salcedo will be hosting a vigil on Friday, January 12 at 7pm in Los Angeles to honor Gutierrez. Find all the details at the Facebook event page. “We really need to show that the injustices that our community continue to experience must stop,” she wrote in the event description.
Rest in peace, Viccky.