Danyale Johnson, a 35-year-old Black trans woman, was shot to death November 13, in Memphis, Tennessee.  According to authorities, she was still alive when police arrived on the scene at a parking lot sometime around 1 a.m. but died a short time later. Closed circuit camera footage reportedly showed her arguing with a man who then shot her, left her lying in the parking lot and then stole her 2010 black Nissan Altima.

Local news sources say Memphis police are looking for the individual who is responsible for shooting and killing Johnson at the Bellevue Inn at 1250 South Bellevue in Memphis.

Johnson’s mother reportedly organized two vigils with balloons released in her honor and is reaching out via social media for support with funeral expenses.


Born and raised in Memphis and part of a large extended family, Johnson graduated from Booker T. Washington High School in 2002 and studied at the University of Memphis. While all indications are that she was well-loved by friends and family, sadly, her life appears to have been a rollercoaster ride of tragedy. 

She is known to have lost a younger brother in late 2018, and posted the following on Facebook November 2 of that year:

“Mama don’t know PJ is dead and they are about to tell her. My little brother had me feeling so bad cuz I can’t physically be there to hug him and tell him it’s going to be okay. So God, I ask you to wrap your arms around him and heal his broken mind and heart. Fly high PJ.”

But her troubles didn’t stop there. While additional online sources intimate she lost close friends and another sibling the following year, this has yet to be confirmed. Clearly, there was enough to push Johnson to publically declare she was planning to take her own life three months later in a Facebook post dated February 23, 2019.

“Okay, I’m tired seriously. In four minutes I will no longer be a part of this Earth. Fuck it. I want to see Noki and DJ. Anyway I’m tired of depression jumbling up my mind. I’m tired of all the fake love. God I’m tired and I’m finally going to fix it. Lord knows I will miss a few of y’all. Be blessed and don’t cry for me or over me. Just know I loved and lived as best I knew how to.”

Responses from friends and family to her post were swift and extremely concerned, which may be the reason she did not succeed in or possibly attempt to commit suicide.


Her death November 13 marks the forty-eighth trans or gender nonconforming individual to be murdered in 2021. Forty-three of the victims have been individuals of color; Johnson is recognized as victim number 33 who has identified as Black. As already reported in other stories in QNotes, 2021 is now the most violent year on record for the killing of trans individuals in the United States.

The Memphis Police Department is requesting individuals with any information that may lead to the apprehension of Johnson to call Crime Stoppers at 901-528-2274.

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David Aaron Moore

David Aaron Moore is a former editor of QNotes, serving in the role from 2003 to 2007. He is currently a contributing writer for QNotes. Moore is a native of North Carolina and the author of "Charlotte:...

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