Investigation Continues Into Killing of Transgender Woman, Officer Involved Shooting in New Wilmington

| February 23, 2021

NEW WILMINGTON, Pa. (EYT) – State Police in New Castle are continuing to investigate the February 18 homicide of a transgender woman in Northern Lawrence County.

Police say the deceased has been identified as 24-year-old Chynna Cardena, of Springdale, Arkansas.

According to police, the actor in the incident, identified as 33-year-old Juan Carter Hernandez, of Campbell, Ohio, was subsequently shot and killed by an officer with the New Wilmington Police Department.

The incident occurred around 11:08 a.m. on February 18 at a location on South New Castle Street in New Wilmington Borough.

Police say they arrived that the scene to find Hernandez assaulting Cardena with a blunt instrument. Hernandez was ordered by police to stop, but continued, and an officer then discharged his weapon, hitting Hernandez.

Cardena was transported to St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in Youngstown, where she later succumbed to her injuries.

Hernandez was pronounced dead at the scene.

Investigators say they have determined that Cardena and Hernandez knew each other, and it does not appear that her killing was motivated by hate or bias.

The Pennsylvania State Police Troop D Major Case Team investigation into the deaths is ongoing, and the Pennsylvania State Police Heritage Affairs Section (HAS) – which works to ensure that hate crimes are investigated thoroughly – is assisting with community outreach.

“Chyna was very young and did not deserve to have her life cut short,” Tori Cooper, HRC Director of Community Engagement for the Transgender Justice Initiative said in recent release from the Human Rights Campaign.

“Already in 2021, we’ve lost too many trans lives. If this alarming rate of fatal violence persists, we will either match or surpass last year’s total number of 44 deaths, which marked 2020 as the deadliest year on record for our community.”

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