A transgender woman who was killed last week in Milpitas was honored Saturday by friends and LGBTQ rights advocates at San Jose City Hall.
Friends said Natalia Smüt, 24, a transgender woman and drag artist from San Jose who was known for her motivating and creative spirit, captivating performances and her love for advocacy within the community was killed Friday.
Also Friday, Milpitas police arrested Elijah Cruz Segura, 22, of Union City in connection to her killing. Police said Segura called 911 about 2:23am Friday saying the victim was injured and that he was responsible for her injuries.
Within three minutes, two officers arrived at the home on Hillview Court and took Segura into custody. Officers located the victim laying on the ground with significant injuries. Officers provided aid to the victim until fire department personnel and paramedics arrived. The victim was taken to an area hospital where she later died.
A community vigil honoring Smüt was held Saturday evening at San Jose City Hall, and a community potluck in honor of Smüt is scheduled for Sunday, according to Project MORE Foundation, a nonprofit organization that works to improve the quality of life of the LGBTQ community.
“The senseless violence against transgender and non-binary people in our communities must stop, and more protections and advocacy are needed,” according to a statement from the organization. “We encourage the community to check in with your queer family and friends to show your support and care for their well-being.”
In honor of Smüt and other trans lives lost to violence, the organization on Saturday changed the color of the lights in the Qmunity District in downtown San Jose to trans flag colors. The lights will remain changed for the next 16 days to help draw awareness to violence against transgender people.
Smüt was the 16th victim this year of anti-transgender violence in the U.S.