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A transgender taxi driver who was also active in his local LGBTQ community was found shot dead behind the wheel of his car in Oklahoma earlier this week.
Dustin Parker, 25, was found dead behind the wheel of his taxi in McAlester on Wednesday, according to authorities.
Police say Parker was shot dead just after 6.30am on New Year’s Day.
‘Guy is out making a living for his family, doing his job, no different than me and you are doing today,’ McAlester Police Captain Kevin Hearod told KFSM-TV.
Police are currently searching for a suspect. Investigators say they do not know the motive for the shooting, according to ABC News.
Dustin Parker, 25, was found dead behind the wheel of his taxi in McAlester on Wednesday, according to authorities
Police say Parker was shot dead just after 6:30am on New Year’s Day
Investigators are seen above at the crime scene in McAlester on Wednesday - hours after Parker's body was found
Parker is believed to be the first transgender person killed in 2020, according to the LGBTQ advocacy group Human Rights Campaign.
Last year, at least 25 trans or gender non-conforming people were killed in the United States, according to HRC.
Parker was an employee of the Rover Taxi cab company.
He was shot and killed just hours after his company offered customers free rides home on New Year’s Eve to keep people safe.
The firm’s owner, Brian West, told ABC News that Parker’s loss has been devastating to the community.
‘He was a bright, young individual with a lot of potential,’ West told ABC News.
‘He could light up a room. He knew everybody, everybody knew him. He just, I think, he touched a lot of lives in our community.’
Parker was known to the LGBTQ community in McAlester, a city with a population of about 18,000 people. It lies about 130 miles southwest of Oklahoma City.
He founded the Southeastern Equality group, an organization that offers resources to LGBTQ people and their families.
Parker is also credited with helping organize McAlester’s first-ever Pride Parade in October.
West said Parker’s activism was meant to help people avoid the pain that he endured while growing up.
Parker is scheduled to be laid to rest on Monday morning.
He is survived by his wife and four children - two of whom are from his wife’s previous relationship.
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