INDEPENDENCE, MO (KCTV) -- Family and friends of another homicide victim fear their loved one may have been killed due to a hate crime.
Aerrion Burnett, 37, was shot and killed early Saturday morning in Independence.
She was a black trans woman and, as KCTV5’s Leslie Aguilar reports, it seems that’s a dangerous thing to be in Kansas City.
“We’re asking you, Lord God, to comfort the hearts, Lord God.”
On Sunday, a crowd of mourning family and friends met just down the street from where their loved one was found dead earlier this weekend.
“Aerrion, we love you.”
They looked up to the sky and released balloons in honor of Aerrion Burnett.
She would have turned 38 tomorrow and will now miss out on a surprise birthday party family had planned.
“Aerrion was a Barbie,” said Korea Kelly. “She was a goddess. Can you hear me? Fun! When I say goddess, she was everything. If you wanted to have a good day, you need to smile, Aerrion was the person you wanted by your side.”
Burnett is one of several black trans women killed in the KC metro in recent years.
“When is the senseless violence to Black trans women in Kansas City going to stop?” said Kelly.
Burnett’s best friend Darnell “Dee Dee” Pearson was killed on Christmas Eve of 2011 by a man who was angry he had sex with her not knowing she was trans.
“As a friend, and both of those are my friends who both got killed the same way, and being a black trans woman myself, that hurts like hell,” Kelly said. “It’s a pain that I can’t fathom. It’s a pain that I don’t know how to fathom or to tell anyone how I’m feeling.”
Much of the family who gathered on Sunday still refers to Aerrion as Carlos, Burnett’s legal birth name. However, the pain is the same no matter the name they use for their loved one.
“Enough is enough,” said Burnett’s cousin. “It’s about time to stop the crime and stop the murders. Stop taking our lives. Lives matter. You can’t get them back, and it hurts so many people.”
If you know anything about the crime, you’re asked to call the TIPS Hotline at 816-474-TIPS.