East Hollywood Shooting Victim Dies After “Robbery Gone Bad”

The victim struggled with at least two attackers before suffering a gunshot wound to the head, police said

An apparent struggle over a purse led to a fatal shooting Thursday morning in East Hollywood in what authorities described as a "robbery gone bad."

The shooting occurred on Melrose Avenue near the 600 block of north Kenmore Avenue around 2:30 a.m.

The attack involved a struggle over a purse carried by the victim, identified by police as a transgender individual, who was shot in the head. The attackers were walking in front of the victim and waited by a vehicle before the approximately two-minute struggle that ended with gunfire, police said.

The wounded victim then walked across the street to another car and passers-by called for help.

A surveillance camera nearby captured the confrontation, struggle and shooting. The video shows the attackers confronting the victim, following her, shooting and then running away.

The attackers did not appear to be specifically targeting a transgender person, Losorelli said. A preliminary investigation indicated the attack was random, he added.

"It appears that it may have been a robbery gone bad," said LAPD Lt. Joe Losorelli.

But the transgender community is on edge after the shooting.

"It's really, really frightening for all of us especially out here on the streets," Karina Samala said.

"Transgender women are targets of violence, disproportionately victims of violence," said Christopher Argyros of LA's LGBT Non-Violence Center.

LGBT leaders in the LA community identified the victim as Aniya Parker.

Parker had a "heart of gold," according to a GoFundMe donation page. The page was set up to help the family to transport Parker's body to Arkansas to be laid to rest.

The attackers are believed to be two or three men in their mid-20s, police said.

"We are unsure if this person was targeted or not for a possible hate crime," said James Wright, diversity and inclusion strategist. "If you're setting the context that it's possible that this person was targeted simply because they are part of the transgender community then it paves the way going forward on how we can make sure this community is not disenfranchised and not put at risk."

The victim, about 40 years old, was transported to the hospital in serious condition and died during surgery.

Los Angeles Police are asking anyone who may have heard or seen anything to contact them at the Rampart Station. 

Kevin LaBeach, Conan Nolan and Jonathan Lloyd contributed to this report.

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