Latina Trans Woman Unique Banks, 21, Killed in Chicago Mass Shooting

Sue Kerr
4 min readJan 27, 2023
Unique Banks via Facebook

A devastating tragedy in Chicago on Monday left a 21-year-old Latinx trans woman, Unique Banks, and her mother, Alexsandra Olmo, 43, both dead. They were killed in a mass shooting that targeted the two women, Olmo’s boyfriend, and two other transgender women. The three survivors are all hospitalized with critical injuries.

Chicago police describe this as a home invasion and an ambush.

The shooting took place in the 2900 block of East 78th Street, at Exchange Avenue on the South Shore neighborhood of Chicago around1:40 p.m. on Monday, January 23, 2023. Police sources telling CBS 2 that two people, described as teens wearing ski masks, one wearing camo, kicked in an apartment door and demanded money before opening fire.

Police are not sharing much information on the investigation. There have been no follow up reports on the medical status of the three survivors.

Several family members have spoken with the media, but given the volatile and unknown level of violence involved, I have opted not to reprint their names or identifying information. This level of violence feels not only terrifying, but unfinished. Suffice it to say that the two women are deeply loved and mourned by their family and friends.

There is nothing to suggest that Unique and her trans friends were specifically targeted because of their identities. That’s yet to be determined. But this happened TO a small group that included three trans women. The ways that trans identities feed into this violence can be subtle and nuanced, not necessarily a legal hate crime but likely fueled by a disregard for the humanity of the victims. Can you imagine how other trans women in Chicago are feeling right now? This absolutely happened to the trans community.

Unique was born and raised in Chicago. She liked makeup artistry, and rap artists Slimeroni and GloRilla among others. Her father relocated from Chicago to Florida when she was about 10. She remained in Chicago with her mother and siblings and a large extended family. One of her siblings died suddenly about 18 months ago, now that family has to cope with unimaginable loss again.



Sue Kerr

I blog @ & tweet @pghlesbian24 GLAAD named us OUTstanding Blog in 2022 & 2019 National Media Awards Also I ❤soaps, cats, dogs & genealogy She/Her