Friends are mourning the death of a Baton Rouge hairstylist who was found shot Monday afternoon off South Choctaw Drive. 

"God hears our cries. … It's been raining since you left," one person wrote on Facebook. "Just to have you in our presence was enough. You didn't deserve it."

Queasha Hardy, 24, was found dead Monday afternoon in the 1700 block of North Harco Drive. While the victim's social media accounts suggested she lived as a woman, police initially identified the victim as Kevin Hardy, saying the victim's next of kin requested she be identified as male. Attempts to reach Hardy's family have been unsuccessful.

Hardy's friends, in posts on her Facebook page in the hours after the shooting, expressed pain and disbelief that someone so full of life and personality could be taken so soon. Many of the posts referenced her Baton Rouge hair salon and her talent as a stylist. 

One person even said she had an appointment Monday evening and was planning to show up until she received news of the shooting.

Trans advocates said Hardy's death was another blow to a community often marginalized and discriminated against.

Hardy's death marks the 25th homicide of a transgender person nationwide since the start of 2020, according to data tracked by the national nonprofit Human Rights Campaign. That data is limited to known homicides involving trans victims, and researchers said the true number is likely higher.

The group says an estimated 78% of trans homicide victims over the past several years were mistakenly identified by the names and genders they were assigned at birth.

Just weeks before Hardy's death, a transgender woman was killed July 1 in rural St. Helena Parish. In that case also, law enforcement identified the victim as a man but her family said Shakie Peters had long been living as a woman. 

Baton Rouge police said Tuesday they did not believe Hardy was targeted because she was a trans woman.

Anyone with information about the Monday shooting is asked to call Baton Rouge Police at (225) 389-4869 or Baton Rouge Crime Stoppers at (225) 344-7867.


Email Lea Skene at lskene@theadvocate.com.