During the early morning hours of October 2, a transgender woman was shot and killed during what police are describing as a botched robbery. The murder occurred along Melrose Avenue, in between Kenmore and Edgemont, less than a quarter mile from the 101 Freeway overpass. Police believe that the robbery was not initiated because of the victim’s gender, though LGBT activists have been quick to point out that her murder may have been.
Surveillance footage, courtesy of KCAL 9, shows three men passing an auto body shop along Melrose. Just a few moments later, the victim Aniya Parker, can be seen walking in the same direction. A second surveillance camera captures an altercation between Parker and the men, and moments later one of the men can be seen firing a gun at Parker as she runs across Melrose Avenue. Aniya was shot in the head and collapsed on the sidewalk just outside Flex Spas, a private gay men’s fitness and social club.
Over the last 6 months, East Hollywood has been subject to a rise in violent crime, much of which seems to be gang-related. Close to 3 a.m. on September 27th (just 5 days prior to Parker’s murder and less than a half mile away) a 38-year old man named Alexander Eduardo Garcia was shot and killed at short range near the corner of Rosewood Avenue and Heliotrope Drive. On June 24 at around 5am, just north of the intersection of Vermont Avenue and Santa Monica Boulevard, Lavell Lee Smith, 33, was shot multiple times after he left a nearby party. 19 year old Christopher Hernandez was murdered before noon on June 5 while walking along Sunset Boulevard. A car pulled up alongside him near the intersection of Sunset and Franklin Avenue and fired multiple shots. And as previously reported by this column, Yeprem Khotsuryan (62) was murdered in an afternoon shooting inside his own store along Hollywood Boulevard (this location is not technically in East Hollywood, but the murder is potentially gang-related). Police have not made any arrests in connection to these murders or the Parker slaying.
Back in February a man was stabbed to death on the Red Line subway as it pulled into the Santa Monica/Vermont station in East Hollywood. Unlike some of the aforementioned murders, this story made local headlines and a suspect has already been arrested and arraigned. The victim, Jose Edgardo Velazco-Alvarado was 34.
Despite recent trends that have seen new businesses move to the East Hollywood area, its median income of $30,000/year is still low compared to surrounding areas. And a six-month crime rate of 117 crimes per 10,000 people is highest among all surrounding neighborhoods with the exception of Koreatown.
Aniya “Ray” Parker, also known to family as James “Ballie” Parker was 48 years old. She was a native of Arkansas and family members are trying to raise money to have her buried there. You can help them do so here.