MIAMI(CBS4) – Miami Police homicide detectives are trying to find out if a 33-year-old man was killed early Sunday because he was a transvestite.
A CBS4 crew caught up with those investigators exclusively as Detective Frankie Sanchez lead them through a neighborhood around 60 N.W. 77th St., where the crime happened early Sunday morning as most people were sleeping and inside as Tropical Storm Isaac was approaching South Florida.
Sanchez and his team handed out flyers asking for the public’s help showing the most recent picture of the victim, 33-year-old Dewayne “Deja” Jones, who lived just seven blocks north of where the shooting happened.
“We’re struggling for leads,” Sanchez told CBS4’s Peter D’Oench. “We don’t know who he was with. That’s always possible that someone did this because of the transvestite lifestyle. We’re looking for any information. Anything that someone may have seen with someone running or driving away from the area, any information that would help us figure out what happened to him.”
Jones, who records show had been arrested in May for prostitution and carrying a concealed weapon, had been hanging out with a friend.
“We don’t know if the victim got into a confrontation, or was minding his own business, or someone attacked him or robbed him,” said Sanchez.
Sanchez and his team came across neighbor Charles Clauss, who heard the desperate cries for help from the victim.
“The guy who was shot, I heard him yell for help four times,” Clauss said. “He was shot, each time he was shot, he yelled again. I think it’s pretty bad.”
Clauss told police another neighbor told him that she had heard the gunman yelling at Jones, “Give me your purse.” But Clauss was not able to identify that witness or say where she lived.
Whoever shot Jones may have wanted to make sure that he did not survive.
One neighbor, who did not want to be identified, told D’Oench, “I heard a lot of shots. Just gunshot after gunshot, shot after, about six shots. That’s upsetting. It’s pretty upsetting.”
Neighbor Guitho December said, “It’s not right. They need to find out who did it. I think I need to be careful when I leave for work in the morning.”
Records show Jones also served five years in prison starting in 2003 for manslaughter. Detective Sanchez told D’Oench that he recently moved to Miami.
“There was no excuse for something like this to happen,” Sanchez said. “This guy just wanted to get out here to live and he was gunned down for no apparent reason. We would like to get some closure with this. His family is desperate to find out what happened.”
Jones lived in an apartment just east of Miami Avenue on Northeast 84th Street. Only one neighbor who D’Oench spoke with at the six-unit apartment building said she knew Jones, but she did not want to comment or say anything on camera.
Sanchez told CBS4 that police are looking into another possible assault on a transvestite who survived.
If you can help, call Miami Police or Miami-Dade Crimestoppers at (305) 471-TIPS(8477).