Trans Woman Helle Jae O’Regan Murdered in San Antonio

Helle Jae O'Regen
Photo via Instagram

Helle Jae O’Regan is the 11th transperson known murdered in the US during 2020. She died on Wednesday, May 6.

She was 20 years old when she was murdered in a bizarre rampage at her San Antonio workplace – a hair salon. A man apparently denied services left the store, returned with a knife and a gun to attack three employees. One escaped, one was stabbed five times and survived. Helle Jae was choked and stabbed to death.

The incident was caught on video and 42 year old Damion Terrell Campbell has been charged with murder and other crimes.

The affidavit said the three staff members were inside the shop, preparing it for reopening after Friday’s lifting of a state order that had shut down a number of different businesses due to the coronavirus pandemic.

It says Campbell, at first, asked about making an appointment.

He told staff he had to go outside to retrieve a credit card, but returned with a backpack, gun and knife, then ordered the workers to the back of the shop, the affidavit says.

What? How does this randomly happen? He had weapons in his backpack. How is that random? Then he left. He tried to murder three people and left.

The store management posted more details on their Facebook page, disputing facts shared by law enforcement.

“When the man stepped back into the shop, the staff realized that along with the backpack he was now carrying, he also had a handgun and a knife.”

“Attempts were made to give the man whatever he wanted…cash, equipment, or whatever it took to get him out of the shop. The man made it clear that he wasn’t there for money. He then began asking the employees: “What have you done wrong? What have you done wrong? God sent me here to kill you because you have done something wrong! What have you done wrong?” over and over again while forcing them to the back of the shop.”

Of course, local media misgendered Helle Jae. That’s prompted friends to speak her truth into the story.

O’Regan’s friends say Campbell unfairly took a great human away from this world.

“Being trans is so hard, and her life was hard, but she lived like it was the best day of her life every day,” [Luke] Tyler said.

Helle Jae O'Regan
Memorial photo via Planetransgender

Helle Jae’s Instagram reflects her pride in her identity and transition, as well as her supportive friends.

All she did was go to work. Police do not believe this was motivated by anti-trans bias, but … why would anyone so brutally murder a person half their age and half their size over a haircut?

I really wish police would not be so quick to discard any possible motive when investigating violent crimes. It strikes me as dismissive of the very real anti-trans violence permeating our society. To dismiss that thread without investigation smacks of toxicity. And given the religious references, it seems worth considering that her identity was a factor.

Rest in power, Helle Jae. You did everything right, living your life authentically and following the rules, rules that could not protect you from a hideous turn of events. You deserved a beautiful life filled with so many best days.

My list of transgender, gender non-conforming, and non-binary neighbors who have lost their lives to violent deaths in the US during 2020.

  1. Dustin Parker – McAlester, Oklahoma. January 1, 2020. Age 25.
  2. Alexa Negron Luciano – Toa Baja, Puerto Rico. February 24, 2020. Age 29.
  3. Yampi Mendez Arocho – Moca, Puerto Rico, March 5, 2020. Age 19.
  4. Monica Diamond – Charlotte, North Carolina. March 18, 2020. Age 34.
  5. Lexi – Harlem, New York City, New York. March 28, 2020. Age 33.
  6. Johanna Metzger – Baltimore, Maryland. April 1, 2020. Age 25.
  7. Serena Angelique Velazquezz – Puerto Rico. April 22, 2020. Age 32.
  8. Layla Pelaez – Puerto Rico. April 22, 2020. Age 21.
  9. Penélope Díaz Ramírez – Puerto Rico. April 13, 2020. Age 31
  10. Nina Pop – Sikeston, Missouri. May 3, 2020. Age 28.
  11. Helle Jae O’Regan – San Antonio, Texas. May 6, 2020. Age 20.

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