Chicago teen allegedly killed woman, 37, after learning she was transgender

Chicago police said Oliver Perez, 18, killed Selena Reyes-Hernandez because he was upset to learn she was transgender after he went home with her.

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By Phil McCausland

A Chicago teenager faces a charge of first-degree murder in the death of a 37-year-old woman, whom he allegedly killed after learning she was transgender.

Orlando Perez, 18, was taken into custody by Chicago police after admitting to shooting Selena Reyes-Hernandez in the head and back on May 31. Perez allegedly was upset to discover Reyes-Hernandez was transgender after he went home with her, police said.

Orlando Perez.Chicago Police Dept.

“Once the offender realized that this victim was actually transgender, the offender became very upset,” Brendan Deenihan, chief of detectives for Chicago police, said at a press conference Wednesday. “He left the residence, became more upset, and that’s when he came back to the residence.”

Perez was charged with first-degree murder on Tuesday. Cook County Circuit Court Judge Arthur Wesley Willis ordered that Perez be held without bail on Wednesday. The teenager's next court date is July 6.

The Cook County Public Defender's office, which is representing Perez, did not immediately respond to a call for comment on Saturday.

Deenihan said private video cameras near Reyes-Hernandez's home showed Perez returning to her place with a gun. He said the case against Perez grew when they found photo and video of the teen in Reyes-Hernandez's phone.

Perez told investigators that he grew more distraught after he left Reyes-Hernandez's home, and that he went back there and shot her in the head and back.

“He thought that was enough so he ran out. But he kept seeing her face, so he went back there to do it again,” Assistant State’s Attorney James Murphy said during Perez’s bond hearing, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.

“Selena is the 17th transgender person to have been murdered, thus far, in 2020, that we know of," National Black Justice Coalition Executive Director David J. Johns said in a statement. "This tragic taking of life feels especially painful as many people around the world risk their lives during a global pandemic to insist that all Black Lives Matter, and activists are working for increased protection and respect for transgender lives."