Allegheny County

Transgender woman shot, killed in Wilkinsburg on New Year’s Day

WILKINSBURG, Pa. — Family and friends are mourning the loss of Que’Chawn Wade, who went by Amariey Lej or Coach Chawn. She was a 21-year-old transgender woman whose life was cut short when she was shot in Wilkinsburg over the weekend.

She was a longtime dancer for the Lady Diamonds dance team in Pittsburgh. She had just recently become a coach.

“A sweet person, a dear kind heart, a beautiful soul and we are devastated and lost right now everyone is hurting,” said Ebony Cohen, the director of Lady Diamonds.

Allegheny County Police said she was found dead, laying on Wood Street after a shooting Jan. 1 around 6 a.m.

Just hours before, the team said Amariey sent them a text saying, “Happy New Year’s y’all love y’all.”

“We have a group text and everybody at 12 o’ clock was saying, ‘Happy new year and we love yall and everybody be safe. We will see you at practice on Monday,’” said Jazmaine Wade, the co-director of Lady Diamonds.

The team cannot believe she is gone. They said it will never be the same because Coach Chawn was a big part of the team. They hope to continue her legacy.

The directors said she was a happy person who was funny and loved to dance. She was supposed to be featured in a dance later this month during the team’s first competition of the year. Amariey was also a former student at Woodland Hills.

SisTers PGH, a nonprofit organization that serves the transgender communities in Pittsburgh and Allegheny County, said this is the first murder of a transgender person in the U.S. this year.

“This unfortunate circumstance of her life being taken away and not only but being left in the street and her body being found later on that morning was just devastating to hear coming into the New Year,” said the founder of SisTers PGH, Ciora Thomas.

The founder of the organization said more needs to be done to stop the violence and hopes Pittsburgh’s new mayor, Ed Gainey, can help.

“I would love to see Ed to partner and talk to the county to have these important partnerships to protect all of those who are vulnerable and living in communities,” said Thomas.

Channel 11 asked county police if this was a hate crime and they said they don’t know the motive yet. Anyone with information should call county police.

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