21-year-old transgender woman shot in the head outside of Gaithersburg shopping center
GAITHERSBURG, Md. (WJLA) —
There were cries of anguish outside the Montgomery Village Crossing Shopping Center in Gaithersburg Thursday evening.
A small group of people exchanged hugs and tears after 21-year-old Zella Ziona was found fatally wounded in a rear parking lot.
Friends say Ziona was a transgender woman, previously known as DeAndre Smith.
A witness, who doesn't want to be identified, saw the gunfire around 5:50 p.m.
"I only saw one gun. It just happened so fast, and kind of scary," the witness told ABC7.
He says he saw the victim, identified as Ziona of Montgomery Village, surrounded by four or five teenagers.
There was an argument, then he says one of them pulled out a gun and opened fire.
"They argued and things happened so fast. I don't know what they argued for," the witness said.
The witness also tells ABC7 he heard four to five gunshots.
"They did find a victim suffering from an apparent gunshot wound to the head," said Montgomery County Police Officer Rick Goodale. "Detectives do not believe this was a random shooting."
Police say that Ziona died at the hospital around 8:12 p.m.
Meanwhile, officers searched rooftops, garbage dumpsters and on the ground for evidence. Detectives are also checking surveillance video from a nearby laundromat.
Customers at the laundromat were pretty shaken up.
"It's tragic. Senseless violence is something none of us wants to live around," said Rock Clarkson of Gaithersburg. "It's a shame somebody lost their life. We just have to be aware of what's around us and keep our eyes open."