Supporters gather for murdered San Jose transgender woman

A transgender woman killed in Milpitas last week was honored by friends and lawyers for LGBTQ rights at San Jose City Hall on Saturday.

Friends said Natalia Smut, 24, a transgender woman and drag artist from San Jose who was known in the community for her motivational and creative spirit, engaging performances, and love of the advocacy, was killed on Friday.

Also on Friday, Milpitas police arrested Union City, 22-year-old Elijah Cruz Segura in connection with her murder. Police said Segura called 911 around 2:23 a.m. Friday saying the victim had been injured and he was responsible for her injuries.

Within three minutes, two officers arrived at the Hillview Court house and took Segura into custody. The officers located the victim lying on the ground with serious injuries. The officers assisted the victim until fire fighters and paramedics arrived. The victim was taken to an area hospital where she later died.

According to the Project MORE Foundation, a nonprofit that works to improve the quality of life in the LGBTQ community, a vigil in honor of Smut was held at San Jose City Hall on Saturday night.

“The senseless violence against transgender and non-binary people in our communities must stop, and more protective measures and advocacy are needed,” said a statement from the organization. “We encourage the community to reach out to your queer family and friends to show their support and care for their well-being.”

In honor of Smut and other trans lives lost to violence, the organization changed the lights in the Qmunity district of downtown San Jose to trans flag colors on Saturday. The lights will remain on for the next 16 days to raise awareness of violence against transgender people.

Smüt was the 16th victim of anti-transgender violence in the United States this year

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