Watch CBS News

Community pays tribute to slain transgender woman who was shot outside Bel Air apartments

Community pays tribute to slain transgender woman who was shot outside Bel Air apartments
Community pays tribute to slain transgender woman who was shot outside Bel Air apartments 02:08

BALTIMORE -- Dozens of people gathered together on Tuesday to remember the life of 57-year-old Meghan Riley Lewis, a transgender woman who was shot and killed last week in the parking lot of her Bel Air apartment complex.

The "Celebration of Life" was held at 6:30 p.m. at the Harford County Circuit Court.

Those who knew Lewis described her as a kind and loving person with a big heart. Friends said Lewis was also a parent of two.

She was an LGBTQ advocate who opened her doors to anyone in need of a safe space.

"Her thing was to say, 'Stay sparkly,'' her friend, Tina Castle, said.

Castled traveled all the way from Massachusetts just to say goodbye to her friend.

Brian Delen, a food delivery driver, has been charged with second-degree murder and first-degree assault.

"It's a little hard to stay sparkly right now, but we're doing our best," she said.

Lewis was 57 years old when she was shot and killed by Brian Delen.

Friends said Lewis founded a patient support group for trans individuals coming to Baltimore for life-saving surgery, and she opened her door to anyone who needed support.

"She posted in a community group just a few days before she was killed that she was having a few folks over for holiday dinner and anybody who didn't have a place to be for the holiday dinner should come and join," Lee Blinder, the executive director of Trans Maryland, said.


Prosecutors say they are still investigating whether Delen previously knew Lewis and what led to their argument.

Bel Air Police said Delen was delivering food around 6:30 p.m. on Dec.27 to the English Country Manor neighborhood when he got into an altercation with Lewis. 

Delen had noticed Lewis walking toward his vehicle and said something akin to "Are you waiting for a food delivery, sir?" according to the charging documents.

Delen alleged that Lewis was offended by his remarks, believing that he had misgendered her, and began yelling at him, per court records.

As Delen began to drive off, Lewis followed on foot. He then stopped his vehicle and re-engaged with Lewis—that's when they got into an altercation, according to charging documents.

At that point, Delen pulled out a gun and shot Lewis in the abdomen, per court records.

Police said Lewis was found in the parking lot by responding officers. She was taken to a local hospital where she was pronounced dead.

Now, members of Trans Maryland and Maryland Safe Haven are calling for justice.

"Too many trans people being murdered," Renee Lau, the executive director of Maryland Safe Haven, said. "Was this a hate crime? why did this have to happen?"

Police are asking for neighbors who may have heard or saw anything to turn over any surveillance video or statements to police.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.