Gerardo Thomas, 33, is charged with first-degree murder in the death of Zoe Spears, 23, who was discovered shot to death on night of June 13 in Fairmount Heights, Prince George’s County, Maryland.
Thomas was arrested on July 17, in Cecil County after investigators narrowed down 50,000 vehicle records to one 2018 Dodge Caravan GT with a unique “billet silver” color that was rented to Thomas in Baltimore, Prince George’s County Police Department announced Thursday.
Investigators spent five weeks tracking down Thomas after a Dodge Caravan was spotted in a “grainy” single black-and-white surveillance image taken near where Spears was killed, Homicide Cmdr. Maj. Brian Reilly told reporters.
After contacting motor vehicle authorities in Washington, Maryland and Virginia for all records related to Dodge Caravans, more than 50,000 records were returned. Investigators then reached out to nearby Dodge dealerships and determined the vehicle had an atypical shade on about only 3,000 such vehicles in the region, Kelly said.
Thomas was later identified as a suspect after detectives scoured license-plate reader data and found that just one of those vehicles had been had caught on camera approximately two hours prior to the murder and less than a mile away, Reilly said.
Trans woman Zoe Spears [photo], was discovered shot to death on June 13 in Fairmount Heights.
Ashanti Carmon, a black transgender woman, was found dead from gunshot wounds early on the morning of March 30, just blocks from where Spears was killed in Fairmount Heights, in Maryland’s PG County. the case remains unsolved
Carmon was also transgender and friends with Spears. Carmon’s case remains unsolved.
“He was very vague about his involvement,” Reilly said. “However, he does place himself on the scene. He does place himself there with a shotgun, and he does place himself inside of that vehicle.”
PG police have not yet determined a motive in the shooting and there’s no evidence suggesting that Spears’ death was connected to the fatal shooting of Ashanti Carmon, who gunned down on March 30, just blocks from where Spears was killed.
Police spokeswoman Jennifer Donelan praised detectives breaking the case open.
“There were some insinuations that we weren’t looking at this case or aggressively investigating it because Zoe Spears was a transgender commercial sex worker,” Donelan said Thursday.
“Nothing could be further from the truth.”
“If your life is taken in Prince George’s County, we don’t care what color you are, we don’t care how much money you make, we don’t care about your sexual orientation, we don’t care about where you’re from or where you live,” she said.
“If your life is taken in our county, these detectives are going to find the person responsible.