The Los Angeles City Council unanimously approved a $50,000 reward for information leading to the conviction of the hit-and-run driver whose car fatally struck a 22-year-old transgender woman in Hollywood.
Keymontae MacKenzie -- who went by the name Unique -- was struck Sept. 27 at about 3:10 a.m. as she was stepping off the curb in the 6700 block of Santa Monica Boulevard, just east of Highland Avenue. She died at the scene.
Witnesses told police the hit-and-run driver fled in a light-color 1990- 1995 Ford Thunderbird, which should have rightsustained damage to the right front and be missing a passenger side mirror.
Friends and members of the transgender community joined City Councilman Mitch O'Farrell to announce the reward.
"Sometimes our transgender friends live life in the shadows," O'Farrell said. "We are standing here today to make sure Unique's death does not disappear into the shadows. We want justice for her ... there are people who loved her, just like everyone else."
In the transgender community, "we form a family around our friends and that's why we're standing here today," he said.
O'Farrell said MacKenzie's mother does not live locally and is "distraught."
Alberto Vasquez, a supervisor at the Hollywood Bienestar community center, said he met MacKenzie when she was in the foster care system.
"She was a very lively person who was always smiling" and "a great dancer," Vasquez said.
Los Angeles has been experiencing an "epidemic" of hit-and-runs, with about 20,000 hit-and-runs annually, according to LAPD figures.
"Seems like we're doing this every day, if not every week," he said.
MacKenzie's death occurred soon after City Councilman Joe Buscaino proposed a standing reward for hit-and-runs.
"If traffic detectives don't have good solid follow-up information, they are going to put that case aside," said Buscaino, a former police officer.
Anyone with more information about the hit-and-run driver whose car fatally struck MacKenzie was urged to call police at (877) LAPD-247.
-City News Service