It’s been more than two months since a Latina transgender woman was shot six times and the man arrested in the case fled after posting bail.
Supporters of Daniela Calderon-Rivera, the Dallas transgender woman who was shot multiple times at a bus stop in September, are demanding more action from authorities to bring her attacker to justice.
At a rally in front of the Frank Crowley Courts Building on Thursday evening, Calderon-Rivera addressed the crowd, saying she is still suffering from the attack, battling depression and fear.
“I would love for there to be justice for me,” she said, speaking in Spanish. “Emotionally and physically, I’m not doing well. I’ve been having moments of anxiety and panic. And all I ask for is for justice.”
Calderon-Rivera was shot six times and left for dead on Sept. 20 in northwest Dallas. The suspect, Domingo Ramirez-Cayente, is a 29-year-old Mexican citizen who was in the country illegally. Ramirez-Cayente confessed that he shouted derogatory remarks about gay and transgender people before opening fire, according to police records.
Domingo Ramirez-Cayente(Dallas County Sheriff’s Department)
On Sept. 26, he was released from jail on a $25,000 bond. Since posting bail, Ramirez-Cayente fled and cannot be found.
Thursday’s rally in front of the courthouse was attended by about a dozen people and aimed at putting pressure on the Dallas police and sheriff departments, the FBI and Mexican authorities to find Ramirez-Cayente so he can stand trial in Dallas County.
The small group stood outside as the rain came and went. They hugged, held hands, chanted and prayed.
“Trans lives are beautiful lives,” said Rev. Erin Wyma, an associate pastor at Cathedral of Hope. Later, leading the group in prayer she added: “We hope there is a better way forward.”
The small number in attendance upset one member of the audience. At one point, Jamie Morales spoke up and denounced members of the LGBTQ community who were not there.
Before the rally, organizers said the event was intended to put a spotlight on a case that they believe police need to devote more attention to.
“They need to do more than their best,” said Stacey Monroe, a transgender activist who has befriended Calderon-Rivera since the attack. “I need them to go above and beyond. If they work collaboratively, they can find this individual.”
The rally comes one day after the national Transgender Day of Remembrance, which honors transgender people who have been killed in acts of violence.
Texas leads the nation in violence against trans women. At least 15 transgender people have been killed in Texas since 2015, according to the Human Rights Campaign and Trans Murder Monitoring. Nearly half of those murders happened in Dallas.
Angelica Andrade, an organizer for the North Texas Dream Team, an immigrants rights group, said it was important for the state’s laws and culture to change. Texas is one of several states that does not protect trans people under hate crime laws.
“We must go beyond mourning and take action now,” she said.
In an earlier interview with The Dallas Morning News, Calderon-Rivera, a sex worker and undocumented immigrant from Honduras, described how she was working in northwest Dallas when the attacker approached her, his gun hidden.
“Are you afraid?” the man asked. “Are you afraid of dying tonight?”
Calderon-Rivera, 35, spent weeks in the hospital after the attack. Stitches, staples and scars mark where the bullets entered her body.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement confirmed in October that Ramirez-Cayente is undocumented and was deported nine years ago. Immigrants who reenter the country after having been deported may be charged with a felony and face up to 20 years in federal prison.
“Deputies are actively searching for the subject and the public is encouraged to contact the sheriff’s office if they have any information concerning his location,” a statement from the Dallas County Sheriff’s Department said.