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Superintendent: Woman’s Death Was Suicide

By Staff Reports
The Tube City Almanac
June 16, 2020
Posted in: Crime and Police News

Carrying signs that said “Black Trans Lives Matter,” demonstrators marched through Downtown McKeesport on June 12. (Kevin Kino video for Tube City Almanac)


The Allegheny County superintendent of police said Monday that a woman who was found dead May 26 outside her apartment on Sinclair Street committed suicide.

County police Superintendent Coleman McDonough said there is no evidence of foul play in the death of Aaliyah Johnson, 32.

In a prepared statement, McDonough said county police generally do not release details of a death investigation “unless there is a related crime or suspicion of a crime,” but because of the intense interest surrounding Johnson’s death, they were making an exception.

“Our hope is that this definitive determination along with additional investigative details will provide some answers to the family and loved ones of Aaliyah Johnson,” McDonough said.

Johnson, who was transgender, was an MC and DJ at events in the LGBTQ community and had worked as a makeup artist and hairstylist. She also had a large social media following.

Friends said that Johnson had been threatened with harm prior to her death. On Friday, family, friends and activists marched through Downtown McKeesport, demanding a more thorough investigation and shouting “do your job!” at the windows of the McKeesport Public Safety Building.

McDonough said county police investigators reviewed surveillance video from the ninth floor of Midtown Towers that shows Johnson entering her apartment at 7:04 a.m. May 26.

Johnson exited the elevator and entered her apartment alone, he said.

The apartment door and hallway are both clearly visible on video, McDonough said.

Johnson was seen falling from the window of her apartment at 8:23 a.m., he said.

“Further video review revealed that no one else either entered or exited her apartment during the night, or during the time between her return to her apartment until police arrived at the apartment at 8:28 a.m.,” McDonough said. “As a result, detectives can say conclusively that she was alone at the time she exited the apartment window.”

Last week, the Allegheny County Medical Examiner’s Office ruled Johnson’s death a suicide and said she died of blunt impact injuries to her head and neck.

Originally published June 16, 2020.

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