News (USA)

Teen claims he killed his trans friend by “accident.” Police think it was intentional.

Memorial candles with the trans flag overlayed
Photo: Bil Browning/Shutterstock

Earlier this month, trans teenager Jazlynn Johnson, 18, was murdered in Las Vegas.

Police had responded to a call from a man who said that his 17-year-old son, Cesar Sandoval, had murdered his friend with a gun earlier that evening, although he did not tell police where the murder had taken place. Sandoval was then arrested and charged with murder with the use of a deadly weapon and destroying or concealing evidence.

Johnson was found the next morning in a car, dead at the scene.

Sandoval reportedly came home at 3 a.m., “hysterical and in a panic,” telling his parents that he accidentally shot his friend. He asked them not to call the police, but they told him they had to. He was taken into custody at Clark County Juvenile Hall.

The Metropolitan Police Department, however, believes that this was an “intentional” murder. Since Sandoval was identified to the press, it is possible he will be charged as an adult.

GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis said in a statement, “We are heartbroken to learn of the murder of Jazlynn Johnson, a young transgender woman. Jazlynn’s murder is the latest in a pattern of senseless deaths among transgender, nonbinary, and gender-nonconforming youth across America who face rampant harassment and violence simply because of who they are. “

“The hostile climate of anti-LGBTQ rhetoric and proposed legislation has a real-world impact on LGBTQ lives. All of us who believe in love and kindness have an obligation to speak out to support every young person’s right to live freely as themselves, in safety, peace, and acceptance. GLAAD sends our deepest condolences to Jazlynn’s loved ones, and we will work side by side with advocates in Nevada fighting for the safety of all LGBTQ people in their state.”

Transgender people are at a heightened risk of violent crime, thought to be due to hateful attacks on their gender identities. A 2021 study from the Williams Institute finds a four times greater risk of violent crime victimization among trans people than cisgender people.

André Wade, director of Nevada LGBTQ+ rights group Silver State Equality, said in a statement, “Mere words lack the capacity to convey the LGBTQ+ community’s sadness at this incomprehensible violence and our deepest sympathy for Jazlynn’s family and friends.”

“While a 17-year-old boy has been arrested and charged with murder, we urge continual investigation to determine if this can be charged as a hate crime. Crimes against transgender and gender non-conforming people – especially transgender youth of color – continue to escalate nationwide. As we grieve for Jazlynn, we must never give up hope that one day all people will live lives that are healthy, just and fully equal for all.”

Don't forget to share:

Support vital LGBTQ+ journalism

Reader contributions help keep LGBTQ Nation free, so that queer people get the news they need, with stories that mainstream media often leaves out. Can you contribute today?

Cancel anytime · Proudly LGBTQ+ owned and operated

Mexico City’s only soul food restaurant serves a taste of home for ex-pats & LGBTQ+ people

Previous article

Who’s trying to make “weak & gay” a thing? And which country just got marriage equality?

Next article