A prominent Halifax trans woman has been shot in the arm, in what some are calling a hate crime. Chris Cochrane was attacked at 1:30am on June 14 after a scuffle at her apartment in Halifax’s Fairview neighbourhood.
According to Halifax Regional Police, two men posing as police officers tried to force their way into the apartment on Evans Ave. Realizing the men were not police officers, 25-year-old Cochrane tried to push them out. Shots were fired through the door and Cochrane was hit in the arm.
Cochrane was taken to hospital, where she underwent surgery on her arm. She is expected to recover.
Initial reports suggest the assailants yelled homophobic slurs. They fled before police arrived and are described as white and wearing dark, baggy clothing.
Reports on CBC Nova Scotia say the attackers yelled trans slurs as they shot at Cochrane. Halifax police are saying that the apartment was targeted, if not Cochrane herself.
“We are exploring the possibility that there are other motivating factors behind this incident,” said Cst Brian Palmeter of the Halifax Regional Police. “Certainly at this point, based on the information that we have, we don’t believe this is a hate crime.”
Palmeter says that the attack on Cochrane does not fit the definition of a hate crime under Section 3.19 of the Criminal Code. The police are waiting to interview Cochrane before they pursue an investigation.
“Our goal is trying to confirm why this incident would have happened, and hopefully the victim is going to provide information on that,” said Palmeter.
Friends of Cochrane’s were shocked to hear that she was attacked. John Williams is upset that police are not treating the incident as a hate crime and thinks the attack was targeted.
“The thing that puzzles me is [the attackers] knew who she was,” said Williams. “To call her a tranny, you would have to know who she is. Because if you look at her, you don’t know that right off the bat.”
At the bar where Cochrane bartends and hosts events, staff are keeping tight-lipped about the attack. However, Menz Bar doorman Daarryll Veniott could not help but gush about Cochrane.
“She’s a very well respected person in the community and it don’t matter what she’s going through,” saysDaarryll Veniott. “Everyone loves her.”
Cochrane is a popular drag performer at Halifax’s gay clubs, Menz Bar and Reflections. Known to her friends as Elle Noir, she is originally from Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. An ex-sailor, recently Cochrane contributed to an oral history project about queer sailors for Halifax’s Maritime Museum of the Atlantic.