Site Network: Pica 12 | GLBTqZine | Photojournalism | Phoenix | FemmeNoir | Shop

Welcome to FemmeNoir

FemmeNoir is about community and bringing that community closer to other lesbians of color. Whether you live in North America, South America, Africa, the United Kingdom, anywhere in the world, you can find information about our lifestyles and culture via FemmeNoir.


You are here: Home > June 2006 > 300 Turn Out For Funeral of Slain Lesbian

« Action Alert! Fight for the Right of The 2nd Annual Trans Day of Action | Main | Windy City Black Pride: June 30 - July 3 »

June 10, 2006

300 Turn Out For Funeral of Slain Lesbian

Posted at June 10, 2006 02:44 PM in Hate Crimes .

SmithCrystal.jpgNeighbors believe killer was local gang member

Thursday, May 25, 2006
Washington Blade

Neighbors and friends of Crystal Smith, a 20-year-old lesbian who was shot to death on a Southeast Washington street last week, say they know who the killer is and why Smith was targeted.

But D.C. police have neither confirmed nor denied the claim, saying the case remains under investigation.

Smith died minutes after being struck in the head with a bullet fired by an unknown masked gunman. The incident occurred about 11:53 p.m. May 16, on the 400 block of 33rd Street, S.E.

Police said a 15-year-old female and a 16-year-old male, who were with Smith at the time of the shooting, suffered non-life threatening gunshot wounds to their legs. A detective said the same gunman shot all three of the victims.

Two people from Smith’s neighborhood said they and others living nearby believe the killer had been dating the 15-year-old female who was injured. One source said the shooter belongs to a neighborhood gang.

The two sources spoke on condition of anonymity because they fear retribution by those involved in the killing.

“The word on the street is he was dating the girl [who was injured] and she broke up with him and she was hanging out with Crystal,” the source said. “Crystal just wanted to be her friend. [Smith] didn’t want anything more to come of it because the girl was too young.”

Smith lived with her mother and sister less than a block from the shooting in a small apartment building on the corner of 33rd Street and Ely Place, S.E. The family has since moved out of Washington.

One source said residents in the neighborhood believe the gunman became jealous and possibly enraged that his girlfriend would break up with him to be with a lesbian.

“He shot the girl and the guy in the legs as a warning,” the source said. “It was deliberate. The message was keep your mouth shut.”

Homicide squad Lt. Robert Glover declined comment when asked about the information.

Police said a second man who accompanied the gunman wore a jacket or hooded parka but was not believed to have fired a weapon.

Funeral for a friend

Earlier this week, dozens of teenagers, including lesbian couples holding hands, joined a gathering of more than 300 people for Smith’s funeral.

Friends and relatives said Smith was a shining light in their lives who gave generously to others while holding firm as someone at peace with herself.

“I have you as an angel watching over me,” said Crystal Robinson, a friend of Smith’s who was among those paying tribute during the service at Temple of Praise Church on Barnaby Street, S.E. “I would rather have you, but God knows best.”

Evangelist Phyllis Young told the gathering that it was expected that people would ask why Crystal Smith had been taken from her family and friends.

“Why did this happen?” Young asked. “Why did someone not come to stop it from happening? She loved everybody. She gave the clothes on her back to help others.”

Many in the church replied: “That’s right.”

“God knows all about Crystal,” Young said. “He knew she would make people happy and live until 20. Why? Why? To get our attention — to wake us up. I believe Crystal had to die to let us live.”

Smith’s mother, Natasha Byrd, described her daughter as “gay and pretty,” and said her openness and her refusal to date young men in the neighborhood may have led to resentment.

Capt. C.V. Morris, commander of the police homicide branch, said police last week had no evidence to indicate the homicide was a hate crime.

“We don’t know what the motive is, but we can’t rule anything out,” he said.

Sgt. Brett Parson, commander of the department’s Gay & Lesbian Liaison Unit, which is assisting in the investigation, said detectives interviewed Byrd at length. He said Byrd, while remaining firm in her belief that anti-gay prejudice played a role in the murder, was unable to provide specific information to show the killer targeted her daughter because of her sexual orientation.

Parson said police are calling on the community to come forward with any information that could help police identify the gunman. Anyone with information about the case is asked to contact the homicide squad at 202-645-9600. A $25,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible is being offered.

Source: Washington Blade
More News: DC Lesbian Killed In Shooting

Smith was more than
‘slain lesbian’

Sound-Off: Washington Blade

Re “300 turn out for funeral of slain lesbian” (news, May 25):

Crystal Smith was a friend and not just a lesbian killed. Yes she always said she loved who she was, but there was more to her. If you could put out in the Blade that she was family to some who had no family so people will know that she was not just a lesbian killed. She was an angel.

Windy City Times:

Crystal Smith, a 20-year-old lesbian, was fatally shot and two of her friends were wounded while standing on a street near their homes in Washington, D.C., according to the Washington Blade. Smith’s mother, Natasha Byrd, said she believes her daughter was killed because of her sexual orientation, but police said they have no evidence that points toward the situation being a hate crime.


You can ping this entry by using .


Post a comment

Remember personal info?