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Driver 'a transgender sex worker'

Published 01/04/2015

A police officer stands at a gate to Fort Meade directing a vehicle to turn away after a vehicle rammed a gate to the National Security Agency (AP)
A police officer stands at a gate to Fort Meade directing a vehicle to turn away after a vehicle rammed a gate to the National Security Agency (AP)

The driver killed in a confrontation at a National Security Agency (NSA) gate identified as transgender and was a sex worker in Baltimore, according to a friend.

Ricky Shawatza Hall, 27, was killed on Monday when NSA police opened fire on a stolen car that then crashed into a police vehicle. A passenger was wounded, as was an officer.

Kayla Brooks, who works at a transgender outreach programme in Baltimore, said Hall went by the name Mya, and that she last saw her on Sunday.

Ms Brooks says Hall "seemed high and was looking for a date" while walking up and down a Baltimore strip knows as a hotspot for sex work.

Court documents show Hall had a criminal record. In 2013, she was charged after she assaulted a woman and stole a bottle of methadone from her pocket.

Hall had been wearing a yellow dress at the time of the assault, the documents show. In 2014, Hall was charged with robbery after stealing a vest and skirt from a Baltimore clothing store.

Police determined that Hall and her passenger were driving the SUV of a 60-year-old Baltimore man, who told investigators he had picked up the two strangers in Baltimore and brought them to a Howard County motel.

The man told police they checked into a room about 7.30am, and that he used the bathroom about an hour later. When he came out, they were gone, along with his car keys, a police spokeswoman said.

Police said they could not confirm whether drugs, alcohol, or sex were part of the roughly one-hour stay.

Just before 9am local time and minutes after the man called to report the stolen car, Hall and her passenger took a highway exit that leads directly to a restricted area at the NSA entrance at Fort Meade.

Hall did not obey a guard's instructions for leaving the campus, said spokesman Jonathan Freed.

Instead, the SUV sped up and headed toward an NSA police car blocking the road, Freed said in a statement.

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