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Zella Ziona is the 22nd transgender woman killed this year, and her family suspects that it was definitely a hate crime.

Police have arrested 20-year-old Rico LeBlond in connection with Ziona’s murder, and he’s now facing a first degree murder charge, but officials are looking into a hate crime charge as well.

According to authorities, LeBlond and Ziona were friends and LeBlond killed her because she “began acting flamboyantly towards LeBlond and greatly embarrassed Leblond in front of his peers.”

Ziona died from multiple gun shot wounds to the head and groin and her family wants answers and hate crime charges brought against LeBlond.

“I do believe in my heart that this was a hate crime,” said Kalany Thomas, Ziona’s aunt. Various members of Ziona’s family said that she has had issues with people because she’s transgender.

“I just want to know why?” Said Sade Thomas. “Why did you take such a beautiful, amazing soul like that and he was never the type of person to hate you or do anything to you?”

Family members held a vigil on Friday for Ziona and friends are still coping with the loss.

“She was just amazing,” Barbie Johnson told NBC Washington. “When Zella’s around, there’s not a single frown in the room.”

Image via Facebook

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