Muhlaysia Booker, 23, of Dallas, was found dead Saturday morning, just a month after she was brutally attacked by a mob in an assault that went viral

By KC Baker
May 20, 2019 11:43 AM
Muhlaysia Booker, 23
Muhlaysia Booker/Facebook

A transgender woman who was brutally attacked in an incident that was filmed on a cell phone and went viral in April was found dead of an apparent gunshot wound on a Dallas, Texas, street as police search for her killer.

On Saturday at about 6:40 a.m., police responded to a report of a shooting on Valley Glen Drive in northeastern Dallas, according to Dallas Police Major Vincent Weddington at a Sunday press conference.

“Upon arrival, officers found the complainant lying face down in the street deceased from homicidal violence,” Weddington said.

The victim carried no identification at the time of her alleged shooting death and was identified the following day as Muhlaysia Booker, 23, he said.

Booker made national news in April when she was violently beaten by a group of men in the parking lot of an apartment complex between 5 and 6 p.m.

“This incident was captured on video and made national news,” Weddington said.

Police arrested one of the alleged assailants in the April 12 attack — Edward Thomas — and charged him with felony assault, he said.

Police said Thomas was allegedly offered $200 to beat up Booker, according to court records, The New York Times reports.

Before the attack, someone can be heard on video telling Thomas that he would receive $200 to beat up Booker and that “the money was in his pocket,” according to a police affidavit for an arrest warrant, the Times reports.

However, Thomas is not currently a suspect in Booker’s death. “There is nothing at this time to connect Mr. Edward Thomas and the offense that occurred yesterday,” he said.

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Officials do not know where Thomas is at this time, he said.

Authorities are still trying to identify others who participated in the April assault, he said.

“The department is actively investigating this offense and we are encouraging the public to come forth with information to bring closure to both of these offenses,” he said.

The April 12 beating allegedly came after one of Booker’s assailants accused her of backing into one of their cars. The owner of the damaged car and other males allegedly chased her down and demanded she pay for the damages.

They began kicking and punching Booker as she lay on the ground trying to protect herself, The New York Times reports.

The suspects reportedly used homophobic slurs during the assault. Booker lost consciousness and several women carried her away from the scene, the Times reports. Police said Booker was hospitalized after sustaining a concussion and a fractured wrist in the beating, the Times reports.

Muhlaysia Booker, 23
Muhlaysia Booker/Facebook

Thomas is accused of repeatedly punching Booker while calling her derogatory names, according to the arrest warrant, NBC 5 reports. He allegedly admitted to beating Booker but denied calling her names, according to the arrest affidavit, NBC 5 reports.

“This case is certainly disturbing,” Weddington said after Thomas’ arrest. “The video shocks the conscience of anyone who looks at this video and it is something that the Dallas Police Department takes seriously.”

Dallas police reached out to the FBI to help determine if the case would be considered a federal hate crime, NBC 5 reports. The FBI would not confirm if it had opened a formal investigation, the station says.

Several days after the attack, Booker appeared at a rally in Dallas, where she spoke out publicly for the first time, Metro Weekly reports.

“This time it was me,” a tearful Booker said. “The next time could be someone else close to you. … Our time to seek justice is now. If not now, when?”

Thomas has not yet entered a plea. It is unclear if he has retained an attorney who can speak on his behalf.