Friends of a transgender woman believe Viccky Guiterrez was killed in a hate crime after she died in a structure fire on Wednesday in Pico Union.
Guiterrez died shortly after 3 a.m. when the second story of an apartment complex in the 1700 block of New Hampshire Avenue was engulfed in flames. Although fire officials yet to determine the cause of the fire, they’ve ruled her death as suspicious.
The victim, who was from Honduras, moved to the U.S. approximately three years ago to sustain a better life and send money back to her relatives. She was described as a kind-hearted person who was well-loved in the local LGBT community, according to her friend Bamby Salcedo.
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Guiterrez has no family in the U.S., but her relatives were devastated upon hearing of her death. Her sister told Telemundo 52 she feels dead inside at the loss.
"She was the foundation of this home," her heartbroken sister said. "She was very responsible."
Los Angeles Police Department is not investigating her death as a hate crime, but encourages anyone with information to contact them at 213-382-9102.
A vigil is planned for Guiterrez on Friday from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. in Los Angeles. Details can be found here.