Bre’Asai Bankz was born and raised in Crossett, Arkansas. She moved with her family first to Los Vegas and then to Los Angeles, California. After graduating from Crossett High School, she went on to study at the University of Arkansas and then studied hair styling at Beauty Education.
At age 27, her life ended at the hands of her boyfriend, Kenton Lincoln in Arizona. According to her family, video shows that Bre’Asia went into Lincoln’s apartment with him and never exited. Video and images posted by Bre’Asia purportedly showed Lincoln with a gun casually resting on his lap in the background. And then he allegedly shot her five times with double bullets that left ten exit wounds on her body.
What I can’t find is media coverage of the story. Not an inch of ink or moments on any Arizona media outlet. A woman was shot to death five times by her boyfriend with mutliple witnesses in the residence and there is no arrest, no charges, no reporting, nothing. Someone even still has her cell phone and it is turned on because her family can see her as if she’s actively using social media. That’s heartbreaking and even cruel.
Without a media report, we have no more information than what her family and friends are sharing. I haven’t heard a peep that Bre’Asia did something to deserve five bullets at close range. What would that something be anyway?
Why is the media covering Casa Grande, Arizona not reporting anything on this story? The shooting death of a Black trans woman warrants coverage. It’s trans/queer story, it is a BlackLivesMatter story, it is a gun control story. In Arizona, a state that’s introduced numerous anti-trans legislative actions, a state with a so-called ‘stand your ground’ protection, a state that witnessed the high-profile shooting of former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords, and so much more. Where is the media on Bre’Asia’s story?
Her family is urgently trying to raise the funds to transport her body from Arizona to their California home to have a proper burial. And trying to understand the little bits of information the Casa Grande Police Department have offered. While seeing her social media appear active because someone has her cell phone turned on.
Her family are not strangers to loss. Bre’Asia’s mother has a sister and a brother. All three have lost a child as a young adult, to illness/injury and violence. That’s a gut-wrenching reality that fuels their desire to see justice and struggle to find allies and accomplices to do so.
Bre’Asia identified as nonbinary, using she/her pronouns. She loved to dance, spend time with her siblings and cousins, and filled her social media with fashion/hair/makeup/celebrity posts. She singled out the movies ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ and ‘Love & Basketball’ as her favorites. She loved her little dog who is now with her friend and will be rejoining her family in the near future.
She had a series of jobs, describing the challenges she encountered in the workplaces.
Bre’Asia is the 19th trans or gender nonconforming person whose violent death has been reported in 2023. She is the 15th trans person of color, the 13th Black trans person, the tenth Black trans woman, the 12th trans woman, and the 12th trans woman of color whose death have been recorded in the United States this year. Bre’Asia is the second person who identifies as nonbinary. “Reported* is an important distinction to make as we know there are more folx whose deaths go unacknowledged.
While we wait for details, I suggest you do this.
- Call the Casa Grande Police Department and ask why there is no investigation or public statements about Bre’Asia’s death. (520) 421-8700
- Contact Casa Grande media outlets to ask about the lack of coverage. Be sure to clarify that you expect fair, balanced, and accurate coverage especially around her gender identity.
- If you know activists in Arizona working on these issues – transgender rights, LGBTQ rights, gun control, BlackLivesMatter, etc – please send them this or any other link and ask them to take a closer look. I can put them in touch with the family.
This is the fifth memorial post I’ve written this week for recent deaths of trans neighbors. I’ve never in the past ten years ever had five consecutive days like this. And there are more, I’m still investigating to get enough details to share. I can’t emphasize enough how empty and hurt I am. It is simply not fair and not good practice to rely on this blog to do all of this reporting. I was in PFA court myself twice in the past three weeks, so I take none of this lightly. My unwarranted 302 took away my own Second Amendment rights to own a gun, a restriction I’m fine with except that the 302 was not valid. These are real issues impacting neighbors everywhere in the country and around the world. We must be do better jobs of signal boosting their stories.
In the course of my conversation with her family, I learned that her murderer is from Pittsburgh. I’m lucky her family trusted me enough to talk with me. I might not have if it were me. I don’t relish sharing a hometown with someone who would put five destructive bullets into the 110 lb body of their girlfriend for any reason and then walk around free.
Rest in power Bre’Asia. Your vibrancy hums throught your social media content and the stories of your friends. I hope you know that your family is fighting for you, to bring you home and to get justice. Thank you for the joy and beauty you brought to this world. You deserved a better life, a longer life to embrace your authentic self, to be loved and celebrated.
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.
- Jasmine ‘Star’ Mack – District of Columbia, January 7, 2023. Age 36.
- KC Johnson – Wilmington, North Carolina, January 13, 2023. Age 27.
- Tortuguita – Weelaunee Forest, Georgia, January 18, 2023. Age 26.
- Unique Banks – Chicago, Illinois, January 23, 2023. Age 21.
- Zachee Imanitwitaho – Louisville, Kentucky, February 3, 2023. Age 26.
- Maria Jose Rivera Rivera – Houston, Texas, January 21, 2023. Age 22.
- Cashay Henderson – Milwaukee, Wisconsin, February 27, 2023. Age 31.
- Tasiyah ‘Siyah’ Woodland – Mechanicsville, Maryland, March 24, 2023. Age 18
- Ashley Burton – Atlanta, Georgia, April 11, 2023. Age 37.
- Rasheeda Williams – Atlanta, Georgia, April 18, 2023. Age 35.
- Banko Brown – San Francisco, California, April 27, 2023. Age 24.
- Ashia Davis – Detroit, Michigan, June 2, 2023. Age 34.
- Chanell Perez Ortiz – Carolina, Puerto Rico, June 25, 2023. Age 29.
- Jacob Williamson – Pageland, South Carolina, July 4, 2023, Age 18.
- Camdyn Rider – Winter Haven, Florida, July 21, 2023. Age 21.
- Kylie Monali – Riverside, California, September 7, 2022, Reported September 2023.
- DéVonnie J’Rae Johnson – Los Angeles, California, August 7, 2023. Age 27.
- Thomas ‘Tom-Tom’ Robinson – Calumet, Indiana, August 17, 2023. Age 28.
- Charm Wilson – Cleveland, Ohio, September 8, 2023. Age 32.
- Bre’Asia Bankz – Arizona, September 5, 2023. Age 27.