A 47-year-old man has been indicted on charges including first-degree murder in the shooting death of a Harford County transgender woman two days after Christmas.

Police said Brian Delen told investigators he shot Meghan Lewis, a transgender woman known in her community for being “sparkly” and “kind,” outside her apartment complex in Bel Air. Court documents say Delen, who was delivering food that night, told police that Lewis thought he was misgendering her when he asked: “Are you waiting for food delivery, sir?”

Delen was initially charged with second-degree murder and released on GPS monitoring. He now faces charges of first- and second-degree murder, first-degree assault and use of a firearm during the commission of a crime of violence. He was ordered held without bond.

Delen told the police the dispute escalated after he drove away and Lewis followed him on foot. He said he got out of his car and fired at Lewis, hitting her in the left abdomen. She was taken to a nearby hospital, where she was pronounced dead.

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Many friends of Lewis maintain that Delen’s account does not seem like something she would do. One friend told The Baltimore Banner that Lewis’ “biggest fear” was that she would be killed for being transgender.

In a text message from February, Lewis said to McKenzie Lannon that she “missed just freely walking without fear.” She lost that sense of safety “forever,” the text message read.

Clara Longo de Freitas is a neighborhood reporter covering East Baltimore communities. Before joining the Banner, she interned at The Baltimore Sun as an emerging news and community reporter. She also has design and illustration experience with several news organizations, including The Hill and NPR. 

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