TYLER (KYTX)-Tyler Police detectives are searching for clues after a transgender woman was shot to death early Monday morning. Police identified the victim as 24-year-old Tyrone Lee Underwood, but on social media and to her friends, she was known as Ty.
Investigators say she was found murdered early this morning on Twenty-Fourth Street in North Tyler.
“She was lovely, just a lovely person. Very real, down to earth person who didn’t deserve this, did not deserve this at all,” Underwood’s roommate Coy Simmons said.
A woman called 911 saying a car had hit a telephone pole and that her children heard gunshots. Underwood’s roommate believes Underwood was targeted because she is a transgender person.
“This has to be a hate crime, this has to be a hate crime, nothing else because that was an upstanding person with a good heart,” Simmons said.
Tyler Police detectives do have a few leads, but nothing substantial enough to lead to a warrant.
“We will follow any leads that come in, we will follow them completely because this was a senseless murder,” Detective Andy Erbaugh said.
Detective Erbaugh believes Underwood was in or near her car when shots were fired. She then tried to drive off, but the car got stuck in a grassy area.
“There were several indicators that there may be bullets fired at the vehicle but we just pulled the vehicles here at the police department and it will be searched pursuant to a search warrant,” Erbaugh said.
Underwood’s friends and family want closure.
“If you know anything, please come forward, if you know anyone who knows anything, please come forward. We don’t know anything,” Simmons said.
Underwood’s friends tell us she works as a nursing assistant at a local nursing home and was recently accepted into the nursing program at Kilgore College in Longview.
Tyler-Smith County Crime Stoppers is offering a one thousand dollar reward for a tip that leads to the arrest and charges filed against the suspect.
If you know anything about this case, call the Tyler Police Department at (903) 531-1000 or Tyler-Smith County Crime Stoppers at (903) 597-2833.