Friend says transgender woman killed in house fire was targeted

A friend of a transgender woman, whose body was found in the remains of a house fire in July, believes the victim was targeted.

The remains of Bubba Walker were found days after the fire happened by an insurance adjuster examining the scene, according to fire officials.  The Charlotte Fire Department said, at the time, that the home was under renovation and being turned into a business.  Firefighters additionally said, due to the condition of the home at the time they arrived to fight the blaze, they weren't able to do a thorough examination of the structure but added there were no signs anyone was in the home.

Investigators now believe Walker's death was by homicide.

"Knowing Bubba, she was cautious about everything she did," said Clarabelle Catlin, a Charlotte-based trans activist who was friends with Walker.  "She was smart, she was intelligent.  If she had seen the fire, she would've gotten out there, so I think someone targeted her and took advantage of the situation."

Catlin described Walker as a type of mother figure to trans people of color.

"She was someone you really looked up to.  She was important to me, and other people's lives," said Catlin.

Catlin believes Walker was targeted, primarily because of where her body was found.  The fire happened off Kenley Lane in southwest Charlotte.  Catlin said that area would not be normal for Walker, who was a known figure throughout NoDa and East Charlotte.

Catlin added that Walker's death by homicide is one of several that have happened across the country in 2019, primarily to trans women of color.  To date, there have been 19 incidents, with two in the Carolinas.