Police officers responded to a domestic call in Sharon, Pennsylvania around 11:30 PM Friday evening. A 23-year-old resident of the house, Sean Hake, was fatally shot before midnight. Sean was a trans man.
Mercer County District Attorney Miles K. Karson Jr. said Saturday he could not comment on the open investigation.
He said he expects to release more information at a news conference, possibly on Wednesday.
“When there’s a release I can tell you, it will be accurate information,” Karson said. “Our goal is to have a complete investigation and have complete transparency, but it’s going to take a few days.”
Smith declined to comment.
Sean Hake reportedly lived with his mother in the residence. Details are very limited at this time, but I will follow this story. We don’t know Sean’s role in the domestic call or what led up to his death by shooting. We certainly do know that the death of a 23-year-old is terrible and tragic.
Regional media coverage of this story is all over the map. Some outlets completely do injustice to Sean’s identity by misgendering and misnaming him. Others describe Sean as a man without any reference at all to his trans identity. All of those things erase an important part of Sean’s identity. Whether his identity is part of the sequence of events leading to his death is yet to be determined, but it is certainly relevant to his actual lived life.
I also noticed that Sean was an employee at the Walmart in Hermitage, Pennsylvania. In early November, another trans identified Walmart employee was involved in a shooting incident – 22 year old Claire McClimans is awaiting trial after shooting a coworker who had been repeatedly harassing her based on her gender identity. Claire was also misgendered and misnamed by those very same media outlets.
I’m not jumping to any conclusions about that connection as I’m sure Walmart employs hundreds of people. We won’t know about the details around Claire’s attempts to report her abuser until the trial, but it does make me wonder about the employment opportunities for trans neighbors in rural regions like Mercer County. And it makes me wonder how a national corporate behemoth like Walmart prepares their management teams to meet the needs of trans employees. These are general questions we should be asking.
If you are trans and living in rural Western Pennsylvania, please know there are resources available.