20-year-old man arrested for shooting death of 21-year-old transgender woman in alley

The Montgomery County Police Department said in a news release: 'Investigators learned that Ziona and Leblond knew each other and had some degree of friendship prior to Ziona’s murder'A 20-year-old man has been arrested for a transgender woman’s Thursday murder, police in Montgomery County, Maryland, announced Saturday.

The suspect, Rico Leblond, was arrested by police around 8pm Friday, the Montgomery County Police Department said in a news release.

Leblond is accused of killing a 21-year-old transgender woman named Zella Ziona. Police said Ziona was also known as DeAndre Smith.

In the news release, police said: ‘Investigation by detectives from the Major Crimes Division lead to the identification of Rico Leblond.

‘Investigators learned that Ziona and Leblond knew each other and had some degree of friendship prior to Ziona’s murder.’

Authorities wrote in the release that ‘Ziona was shot while in a service alley to the rear of a Montgomery Village shopping center.

‘The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner ruled her death a homicide caused by multiple gunshot wounds.’

Police said Leblond was charged with first-degree murder and is being held without bond.

Authorities said a bond review is expected to place in Rockville Monday afternoon.

In a Friday news release, Montgomery County police said ‘after speaking with family and friends, investigators are identifying the victim as a transgender female.

‘Police have learned that she identified herself as Zella Ziona.’

A spokesman for the police department, Capt. Paul Starks, had told NBC Washington: ‘We are not ruling out the possibility that this could be hate-based.’

Ziona’s friend Jasmine Black told the television station: ‘She just wanted to embrace her life.

‘She wanted to show the world how to be transgender.

‘She helped people.

‘She inspired somebody else named Chris to come out and be himself, ’cause it’s hard for people to be their selves.’

Source: The DailyMail

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