Black Trans Man Banko Brown, 24, Shot to Death by Walgreens Security Guard in San Francisco

headshot of a young Black man wearing a yellow sweatshirt and a yellow viser upside down

Banko Brown, a 24-year-old Black trans man, is the most recent reported victim of anti-trans violence after he was fatally shot by a security guard in a San Francisco Walgreens. Banko used the surnames Brown and Paso.

At approximately 6:33 p.m., SFPD officers from Tenderloin Station responded to a report of a shooting at 825 Market Street near Fourth Street, the SFPD reported. Officers arrived on scene and located a victim – identified as 24-year-old [dead name redacted[, who preferred the name Banko Paso – suffering from a gunshot wound. Officers rendered aid and summoned medics to the scene. Paso was transported to a nearby hospital with life-threatening injuries and was later pronounced dead.


Young Women’s Freedom Center, a San Francisco nonprofit that provides support for young women and  trans youth of all genders, identified Banko as a community organizing intern for the nonprofit. He had been involved with the organization since he was just 12 years old and was currently serving as a community organizing intern. His work involves street assessments of folx during the pandemis.

Julia Arroyo, co-executive director of the Young Women’s Freedom Center, said. “He reached my heart. He really did reach my heart. He was so funny and he was bold too, he knew what he was striving for.”

The organization set up a crowdfund for Banko’s funeral expenses. It reads, in part:

Banko had also struggled with housing instability for over a decade. He worked tirelessly, making consistent calls for shelter and other basic needs. Still, instead of receiving the support he needed, at every turn, there were obstacles and endless hoops to jump through. He was criminalized and lost his life trying to survive.

Banko has been repeatedly misgendered by media. The same media that’s debating the issue of shoplifting as an epidemic rather than examining the reasons people turn to shoplifting. Or the epidemic of violence decimating the trans community. One person interviewed said the guard was probably “overwhelmed” which I think is a staffing/personnel issue, not a reason to shoot anyone. 

The problem isn’t shoplifting, no matter the cost to the economy. The cost of young people entering adulthood without housing or adequate resources to meet their daily needs is much greater for our economy. The cost of killing shoplifters is inconceivable.

The point is not how to curb shoplifting without resorting to lethal force – that should be a given – but how to reduce the reality that young people feel a need to shoplift for survival.

“We need immediate funding for community-based housing that responds to what young people want for themselves. Instead of terrorizing and killing youth, we need real investment into their safety.”   

CBS News

According to his social media profile, Banko was interested in Eastern spirituality. He was looking forward to the next Olympics. These are things we should be celebrating about this young man – his service to the community, his efforts to save himself, his interests and passions. He shared some intensely personal and painful feelings about his family of origin, including his deep devotion to his beloved grandmother, raging that she had no headstone. I hope someone makes sure Banko and his grandmother have a headstone. That’s the very least we can do. Honor his wish.

Friends and neighbors gathered today, May 1, outside of the Walgreens to hold vigil for Banko. Participant QueerlyComplex said:

His death is a failure of our City to meet the needs of Black trans youth. We must seriously fund and address reparations, housing, and real opportunities for Black trans folx and all folx.

Police have arrested the 33-year-old security guard. There is no indication that Banko was carrying a weapon or presenting a threat to anyone. I’m confident that the police would have mentioned that fact, especially given that they’ve charged the security guard with a single count of homicide and that he’s being held without bail.

Since I wrote this post, there are new developments in the investigation. According to FOX, the man accused of shooting Brown, Michael-Earl Wayne Anthony, 33, who was in jail and expected to be formally charged with homicide on Tuesday, was unexpectedly released from jail on Monday. District Attorney Brooke Jenkins’ office declined to file charges. Meanwhile, KTVU has learned SFPD is looking at a self-defense claim. 

Police say that there is still an active investigation and ask anyone with information to contact them at 415-575-4444 or text a tip to TIP411 and start the message with SFPD.

So, Walgreens is so rabidly ‘pro-life’ that they deny customers in dozens of states access to legal medication for abortions and treatment of miscarriages, BUT they have armed security guards shooting shoplifters. Each of those shoplifters started out as a fetus. If a pregnant person was shoplifting, would they shoot them even if it meant terminating the pregnancy? I’m being ridiculously facetious because this is loathsome. Walgreens is using shoplifting as an excuse to close stores in San Francisco and other cities. It is about corporate greed and cowardice, not providing a much needed resource to the residents of San Francisco. How is Walgreens showing up for homeless trans youth?

Banko is the eleventh trans or gender nonconforming person whose violent death has been reported in 2023. He is the tenth trans person of color, the eighth Black trans person, and the first trans man whose deaths have been recorded in the United States this year.  At age 24, he is among the youngest. As of today, a trans person has been killed in the US every 10.6 days. Reported is an important distinction to make as we know there are more folx whose deaths go unacknowledged.

Rest in power, Banko. You deserved a safe and comfortable place to live, access to all the supports you needed to thrive, and the peace of mind that comes with both. Thank you for all that you did for the community through your work. I am so terribly sorry that we exist in a world where you would be shot for trying to survive, that your life was worth less to anyone than some consumer goods. I regret that while you faced these struggles as a young Black trans man, the world got worse for young Black trans men. We failed you and we must move forward by demanding better for all of our trans neighbors.

May your memory be a revolution.

This is our list of transgender, nonbinary, and gender nonconforming neighbors who have been victims of the campaign of terror in 2023. Please do not copy, modify, or share this list without attribution.  

  1. Jasmine ‘Star’ Mack – District of Columbia, January 7, 2023. Age 36.
  2. KC Johnson – Wilmington, North Carolina, January 13, 2023. Age 27.
  3. Tortuguita – Weelaunee Forest, Georgia, January 18, 2023. Age 26.
  4. Unique Banks – Chicago, Illinois, January 23, 2023. Age 21.
  5. Zachee Imanitwitaho – Louisville, Kentucky, February 3, 2023. Age 26.
  6. Maria Jose Rivera Rivera – Houston, Texas, January 21, 2023. Age 22.
  7. Cashay Henderson – Milwaukee, Wisconsin, February 27, 2023. Age 31.
  8. Tasiyah ‘Siyah’ Woodland – Mechanicsville, Maryland, March 24, 2023. Age 18
  9. Ashley Burton – Atlanta, Georgia, April 11, 2023. Age 37.
  10. Rasheeda Williams – Atlanta, Georgia, April 18, 2023. Age 35.
  11. Banko Brown – San Francisco, California, April 27, 2023. Age 24.

Trans deaths


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