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In the early hours of Friday, May 28, Lauren “Lela” Leslie was among three people murdered at the home of her girlfriend in Bloomfield, CT.

Leslie was found dead along with her girlfriend’s mother, Delores Wisdom, and stepfather David Wisdom. A fourth victim, believed to be Leslie’s girlfriend, was rushed to a nearby hospital after sustaining several gunshot wounds. She is in critical but stable condition.

According to the Windsor Locks Police Department, they believe that David Wisdom killed himself before 1 a.m. on Friday after shooting and killing his wife, Leslie, and injuring his step-daughter. Neighbors had heard yelling and screaming before gunshots went off. The nature of the argument was unclear.

While police have yet to confirm Wisdom’s motive for the murder-suicide, Leslie’s family suggests that homophobia can be a possibility.

“I hope there’s an investigation to see if this was rooted in hate or if this has anything to do with homophobia.” Leslie’s brother, Jhavier told the Hartford Courant. He adds, “But I think the ultimate message, at least for me, is that this is a part of a greater issue in our society. Especially in Black communities, it’s very difficult for us. We don’t have many safe spaces, even with our family.”

Family members of Leslie, often referred to as “Lela”, says that she had been in a relationship with Wisdom’s stepdaughter for about a year. The young couple spent more time with the Leslies because of how uncomfortable they felt at Lela’s girlfriend’s house. Both teens embraced their sexuality proudly, according to Jhavier. They were able to be more open and comfortable around Lela’s family,

I feel like it’s not fair she had to go through this. She just turned 18. I am a gay man as well. I know she struggled to come to terms with herself. She spent her whole life barely talking because she was afraid of who she was and she finally gained the strength to realize who she is, so it’s very difficult for me to know that now, her being her true self and living in her reality, this is the result of that in my eyes. I feel like it wouldn’t have happened it wasn’t for that.

The Windsor Locks Police Department have yet to confirm a possible hate crime. Yet it marks as devastating news coming at the beginning of Pride Month. Lela was “a proud black, lesbian woman”, according to Jhavier, and her name will not be forgotten.

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