NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) — A vigil is being planned for Monday night in memory of a transgender woman who was found dead in North Charleston early Saturday morning.
The Alliance For Full Acceptance (AFFA), a social justice organization based in North Charleston, and the Human Rights Campaign identified Denali Berries Stuckey as the victim.
AFFA Executive Director Chase Glenn released a statement on Stuckey’s death, saying, in part:
I am heartbroken and outraged by the news of yet another murder of one of our transgender community members. Denali is the third known black trans woman to have been murdered in South Carolina since 2018…In this moment, we are focused on our responsibility to honor and memorialize Denali as she chose to identify herself, while raising much-needed awareness among the general public about the violence perpetrated against the transgender community— and more specifically trans women of color. We refuse to become numb. We will continue to say the names of these women and remember them how they would have wanted to be remembered.
On Saturday, around 4:05 a.m., officers had responded to 2721 Carner Avenue after receiving a report of a body laying off of the roadway.
At the scene, police found the victim with a gunshot wound and said the person was dead at the scene.
Deputy Coroner Kimberly Rhoton had identified the victim as 29-year-old Derrick Stuckey of Charleston, but the Alliance For Full Acceptance (AFFA) and the Human Rights Campaign identified her as a transgender woman named Denali Berries Stuckey.
On Sunday evening, North Charleston Police Deputy Chief Scott Deckard released a statement, saying that during the investigation, it was revealed that Stuckey identified as a transgender female who used the name Denali Berries.
The statement continued:
The North Charleston Police Department recognizes, respects, and protects the rights of all citizens regardless of race, religion, gender, or beliefs, and will continue working to ensure all citizens are treated fairly and courteously.
Authorities added that the investigation continues and that there is no additional information at this time.
On Saturday, ABC News 4 asked police if the death was being looked at as a possible hate crime. They responded that it was being investigated as a homicide.
Speaking with ABC News 4’s Rachel Ellis on Sunday, Glenn said, “Hearing this close to home is startling. I would say it’s shocking, but it’s not because we know this happens. It doesn’t get reported a lot of times. But hearing this, being able to name this person, it’s hard to hear.”
In 2018, a transgender woman was attacked outside of a Charleston nightclub. At the time, Charleston Police had initially stated that the assault was not due to the woman being transgender, but later said it was due to the victim’s gender identity.
This led to a meeting weeks later between police and LGBTQIA community advocates.
A number of groups, including AFFA, Charleston Pride, We Are Family, Charleston Area Transgender Support, Charleston Black Pride, SC Equality and other community leaders will hold a vigil in Denali’s memory. It will take place at 8:00 p.m. at the Equality Hub located at 1801 Reynolds Avenue in North Charleston.
AFFA said all allies of the transgender community are being invited to attend the vigil.