Suspect pleads not guilty to the killing of Black transgender woman, Imanitwithago Zachee

by Belle Townsend

Imanitwithago Zachee (pronounced Za-shay, known as Zachee to friends) was a Black transgender woman gunned down outside of her work on February 3. Soon after, a dozen Louisville advocacy and support groups, as well as friends, family, and community members, gathered to honor her life through a candlelight vigil. 

Edilberto Lores Reyes

Zachee was shot and killed as she left the JBS Swift and Co. plant, which was her place of work. Officers came to the scene after a report of a shooting. According to court documents obtained by Queer Kentucky, shortly after their arrival, Edilberto Lores Reyes turned himself into the Louisville Metro Corrections for reportedly just killing someone. Reyes confessed to the gun being in his personal vehicle, which was parked outside of Metro Corrections. 

The detectives could see the weapon in plain view from outside of the vehicle. The homicide detectives spoke to the employees at JBS Swift and Co., where they learned that both the victim and the suspect were employed at the facility. The detectives were able to uncover footage that recorded the shooting. The shooter in the video was wearing the same clothes as Reyes was at work on February 3, and Reyes was wearing those same clothes when he turned himself into the Louisville Metro Corrections. Further, the uncovered footage captured Reyes fleeing the scene in the same car that he drove to Metro Corrections and had the murder weapon inside. 

Reyes has been charged with murder and he pleaded not guilty despite turning himself in, per court documents obtained by Queer Kentucky. Updates on the judicial process will be made as we have them.

Violent crimes against the LGBTQ+ community, particularly against Black trans women, must be stopped. Although we do not know the official motive for this case, we know who Zachee was and how our society treats Black trans women – who are at the intersection of racism, sexism, and transphobia. All of these identities compound to create more, more, and more marginalization, meaning Black trans women are who we need to be centering in this fight. 

To support Zachee’s family, you can do so at

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