So Anthony left the funeral home and pedaled the short distance to East Genesee Street, finally stopping at a yellow and green house with a gabled roof.

After a few minutes inside, he confronted Tolliver at the door. Angry words were exchanged, and the ex-con pushed his way into the house. Tolliver fired five shots in rapid sequence. Because it's an ongoing investigation, police won't say much else about what occurred that night.

Still, Anthony's friends say he probably tried to block Tolliver and said something along the lines of, "Well, you're going to have to shoot me then," and that the smaller man probably panicked. "I can see it in my head as if I'm standing there," says one friend with tears in her eyes. "He died an honorable death protecting those kids."

South Beach Wanda was known for her Whitney Houston impersonations, her acerbic wit, and her loyalty to friends.
Photo courtesy of DJ and performer Power Infiniti
South Beach Wanda was known for her Whitney Houston impersonations, her acerbic wit, and her loyalty to friends.
Anthony Jerome Lee at age 9.
Photo courtesy of Barbara Lee
Anthony Jerome Lee at age 9.

McKinney couldn't be reached for comment. Multiple trips to the home yielded no response, and landlord Merence Wingfield says she moved out soon after the shooting without giving notice.

"She and another guy robbed [Anthony]," insists Hamburger Mary's owner, Kurt King. "She wouldn't leave the house for days."

Iris Holton, who writes for the black community newspaper the Florida ­Sentinel Bulletin, says the neighborhood has also been talking about ­McKinney's involvement in Anthony's death.

But for all the plotting and scheming Anthony's friends accuse her of, there's also the possibility that the murder was just another random occurrence in the life of a freewheeling drag queen and that McKinney couldn't have seen it coming.

"She had to be hospitalized after the shooting," Holton says of McKinney. "She was in shock."

One person who wasn't in shock is Elaine Lancaster, the Miami queen who rode out the drag recession to become the TV-friendly face of a South Florida scene that would be wholly unrecognizable to the club kids of the '90s. "I'm surprised it didn't happen sooner," she remembers thinking when she heard the news.

A month after Anthony's death, the topic of Wanda came up at the Ybor City gay bar Liquid. At first, people delivered a glowing hagiography of the recently deceased, but after 45 minutes, the conversation took an existential turn.

"What was behind Wanda? What support system did she have?" Michael Capozzi lamented from behind his third whiskey-and-Coke. "For those people to come in and shoot her — that shows everyone in that neighborhood is nothing to them. You go into a gay bar and you're worth something. Why didn't she live among her peers, where she was comfortable and safe?"

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2 comments
dmichaelk
dmichaelk

By the time Liquid came around, Warsaw's influence was waning.  

TaxpayingVoter
TaxpayingVoter

I've known people like Wanda and this story just breaks my heart.

 
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