NCAVP mourns the death of Yampi Mendez Arocho, a 19-year-old Latinx transgender man who was fatally shot in Moca, Puerto Rico. Yampi’s body was discovered in a park, and 5 hours prior his mother had called the police to inform them that her son was attacked by a woman. No connection between his initial attacker and the later shooting has been found.
Yampi’s death marks the 3rd death by hate violence of transgender and gender non-conforming people in the United States, and the 2nd in Puerto Rico, following Neulisa Luciano Ruiz, also known as Alexa. In response to the events, human rights orgs call on local law enforcement to investigate Yampi’s death as a hate crime – Pedro Julio Serrano, the founder of Puerto Rico Para Tod@s, stated “If the treatment of Yampi’s murder is added to the mismanagement of Alexa’s murder, we are talking about a crisis of confidence of the LGBTQ communities towards the police, because they are failing to comply with their own protocols of handling cases with dignity and sensitivity with the trans community.”
According to his social media, Yampi was a basketball fan, listing his employer as the NBA and often photographing himself in Miami Heat apparel. Additionally, he expressed interest in rap, posting a video of himself performing what appears to be an original song, with the caption “the boy of the girls breaking the beat.”
NCAVP works to prevent, respond to, and end all forms of violence against and within lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer (LGBTQ) and HIV-affected communities. NCAVP is a national coalition of local member programs and affiliate organizations who create systemic and social change. NCAVP is a program of the New York City Anti-Violence Project.