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Suspect arrested in fatal shooting of Atlanta transgender woman Koko Da Doll

Neilson Barnard/Getty Images

(ATLANTA) — A teenager has been arrested in connection with the fatal shooting of a Black transgender woman in Atlanta, police said.

Officers responded to reports of a woman suffering from a gunshot wound at a shopping plaza on April 18. The victim was pronounced dead at the scene.

Police have not publicly identified the victim, though a relative confirmed to ABC News that it was Rasheeda Williams, 35, an aspiring musician whose music was set to be featured on the Showtime drama “The Chi.”

Williams, aka Koko Da Doll, was also featured in “Kokomo City,” a documentary about Black transgender sex workers in Georgia and New York that won awards at this year’s Sundance Film Festival.

Atlanta police announced Thursday they arrested 17-year-old Jermarcus Jernigan after “homicide detectives were able to establish probable cause” and secure warrants for murder, aggravated assault and possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony.

Jernigan turned himself in to police on Wednesday and was later transported to the Fulton County Jail and taken into their custody without incident, the Atlanta Police Department said. It is unclear if he has an attorney who can speak on his behalf.

Williams’ sister also confirmed the arrest in the case to ABC News. She will be laid to rest on Monday.

Police did not release any further details on the shooting.

D. Smith, the film’s director, said in an Instagram post that Koko Da Doll was “the latest victim of violence against Black transgender women.”

The fatal shooting is one of three “violent crimes” against transgender women that Atlanta police said they are currently investigating.

“While these individual incidents are unrelated, we are very aware of the epidemic-level violence black and brown transgender women face in America,” the Atlanta Police Department said in a statement last week.

A week before Koko Da Doll’s death, another Black transgender woman was killed at an apartment complex on April 11. Police have not publicly identified the victim in this case, though friends and family identified the victim to Atlanta ABC affiliate WSB as 37-year-old hairstylist Ashley Burton.

Atlanta police are also investigating a shooting that occurred the night of Jan. 9 at an apartment complex. A transgender woman was transported to the hospital in critical condition.

Both of those incidents involved a dispute, police said.

ABC News’ Armando Garcia contributed to this report.

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