Homicide Investigation

‘My Heart Is Broken': Transgender Woman Killed in Dolton; Family Pleads For Justice

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Latrina Banks doesn’t know how much more she can take after losing a second child to gun violence over the Labor Day weekend.

First, her son Antonio was killed in 2018, and now her daughter has died after being shot and killed in Dolton.

“I’m relying on God right now to keep holding me up because it’s hard,” she cried.

Banks' daughter, 27-year-old D’isaya Monaee Smith was shot and killed at Prestige Motel in Dolton early morning on Labor Day. Banks described the crime scene as gruesome and believes her daughter struggled with the gunman.

“At the hotel room door you can tell the struggle was at the door it was not inside the hotel room,” she explained. “There’s blood, there’s like a trail of blood at the entrance way right there from the hallway area.”

Banks said her daughter Facetimed her from the motel room hours before the incident. Her daughter was out with two female friends. Banks said they told investigators Smith was too tired to go out so they left without her. They came back later to find her shot.

“Whoever knows anything about my baby’s murder please tell,” Banks cried. “Ya’ll took the best thing ever from me.”

Those who knew Smith said she had a larger than life personality. Banks said her daughter was a happy person, outspoken, and caring.

“She loved to dress, she loved to party, she loved to cook, she loved to do her hair, she loved to take care of people,” she said. “She’s been like that ever since she was little.”

Smith transitioned after graduating from high school in 2014. Family accepted and embraced her new identity, and say she was finally comfortable in her own skin. They never imagined her life would end like this.

“I really don’t know if it was a hate crime,” said Banks. “I really don’t know if it was friends that you know, envied her I don’t know, I really don’t know.”

The Human Rights Campaign, the largest LGBTQ advocacy group has been keeping track of the number of transgender people murdered in the country since 2013. So far this year, at least 35 transgender people have been murdered. At least three from the Chicago area. The group said the deadliest year on record was last year with 44 transgender people murdered.

“People need to love on everyone, let people live, you can not change anyone’s life style,” said Banks. “If you don’t like the lifestyle walk away. You can not harass anyone, that’s not what you’re here for, let these people live.”

While the investigation is ongoing, the Dolton police chief told NBC 5, “there’s no evidence that leads to speculation of a hate crime at this point.” Regardless of the motive, Banks said no mother should have to go through the pain of losing a child for the second time.

“Everyday my baby walked out this door, she tells me she loved me and they took that away from me,” she cried. “I will never get a chance to hear her tell me she loves me.”

The South Suburban Major Crimes Task Force is helping Dolton police with the investigation.

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