Trans woman Daniela Calderon, 35, was shot seven times last month. (Screen capture via Dallas News)
A trans woman shot seven times – her shooter released back onto the streets shortly after being arrested – has spoken out for the first time since the shocking attack.
Daniela Calderon was working in Northwest Dallas in Texas on a mild Friday night when a man approached her.
“Are you afraid of dying tonight?” the man said to her, before shooting the 35-year-old in an attack that left her hospitalised and the trans community stunned, Dallas News reported.
In her first interview since the attack, Calderon described in detail what happened to her on the night of the shooting and her anger at her attacker being released despite admitting his actions to authorities.
“Tonight you won’t live anymore”: Shooter’s chilling final words before pulling the trigger.
A sex worker, Calderon has lived in the US for the last decade.
Born in Honduras, a small Central American country, Calderon hopped to Texas after living in Florida.
“I was a little afraid, but I never imagined it would happen to me,” she recounted.
“I feel an irreversible trauma, something that I wouldn’t wish on anyone, no one, absolutely no one. Why? Because I’ll be marked for the rest of my life.”
Calderon was shot by 29-year-old Domingo Ramirez-Cayente while she was walking alone on the evening of September 20, on the 11000 block on Dennis Road, a residential neighbourhood.
Ramirez-Cayente was driving a red truck when he approached Calderon and began making derogatory comments about gay and trans people, according to the police’s arrest affidavit and Calderon’s statement.
“Then he tells me: ‘Tonight you won’t live anymore. At any moment, they will kill you’.”
Calderon fled to a nearby shop. Ducking in, she stayed under-cover for a while.
But emerging out of the store, she recounted how: “He comes from the other side, from the back, so that I could not see him,”
“All I remember was the ‘boom, boom, boom,’” she said.
“I am still here, fighting”, after near-fatal shooting, trans woman stays strong.
Calderon later recounted how her “whole body ached” as she was, while fully-conscious, being motored to a local hospital.
She asked a nurse to record a video for her sister back home in case she didn’t make it.
Two weeks on, she is alive and well: “I am still here, fighting, and I thank God for giving me a second change.”
During a police interview on September 24, Ramirez-Cayente admitted to the shooting. He and his truck were both captured by CCTV footage during the shooting.
However, to the anger of local activists and Calderon, he was later released on bail from Dallas County Jail.
“Who does justice serve, if by paying a bond a man can leave and this crime can go unpunished? Or, what if he had killed me? It’s unjust. In these moments, I feel courage, lots of frustration,” Calderon said.
“He shot me because he hates gay people. I never had contact with him. I never touched him, nothing.
“Then, why would he shoot me without knowing me? This is a person who is bad in the head and those people should not be on the outside.”
She added: “That’s why I ask again for justice for me and for all transsexual women, because we have a right to live.
“I demand, with all my heart, that they capture and incarcerate this man. Please, do it. I implore you.”
The Dallas District Attorney’s Office told Dallas News it could not discuss the case because of the ongoing investigation.
Texas hate-crime laws do not cover gender identity, so activists are calling for the FBI – which has been notified of the crime – to investigate, so that Ramirez-Cayente can be charged under federal hate-crime law that carries a longer sentence.