Three separate incidents of LGBT-related violence in a period of just 24 hours has the gay community and their supporters in outrage.
On March 11, a gay man was shot in a Columbia Heights IHOP after an altercation with a group of people seated near him. According to a police report, says the Washington Blade, the victim was berated by the group--composed of two males and one female--who repeatedly called him and his companions "faggies". When the victim got up to pay his bill, the three suspects blocked his path and a fistfight ensued, during which a shot was fired. The victim, who did not want to release his name to the press, is currently being treated for a gunshot wound to his liver and is expected to be released from the hospital next week. Police have released descriptions of the three suspects and have listed the assault as a "hate crime with intent to kill".
The second incident occurred just one day later when a 29 year-old gay man was assaulted while walking home on the evening of March 12th. Witnesses say he was attacked by two or three males, who hurled anti-gay insults at the victim while the beating took place. They left him with head injuries and a brutally broken jaw, which was so seriously injured that the victim had to be given a breathing tube to keep his airways from closing. Incredibly, after the first set of attackers left him on the street, a second group came along and robbed him, taking his cell phone, wallet, and iPad. Luckily he had already managed to call for help before lapsing into a semi-conscious state.
The third assault happened just a couple of hours later when a transgender woman was attacked from behind by two males. She reported being hit and knocked unconscious. Because her police report indicated that she couldn't remember whether anything had been said by her attackers, the police didn't immediately file it as a hate crime. The victim says she believes that her transgender status was the reason she was targeted, however, and the assault has since been classified as such.
Hate crimes such as these are not an uncommon occurrence, unfortunately, and while groups such as GLOV (Gays and Lesbians Opposing Violence) appreciate the efforts of local police to work as quickly as possible to find those responsible, they also want to make it known that preventative efforts must be in place as well.
“We appreciate [D.C.] Metropolitan Police Department’s prompt action regarding the recent attacks and we offer the victims our strongest support while recovering,” said A.J. Singletary, chair of GLOV. “We expect MPD to respond by increasing patrols in the affected areas and tenaciously investigating the crimes committed.”
GLOV also released this statement on the DC Center blog, on behalf of the Metro Police Department:
"On Sunday, March 11, 2012, at approximately 6:30 am, officers from the Third District responded to the IHOP located in the 3100 block of 14th Street, NW, for a report of a shooting. Upon their arrival, they located a victim suffering from a gunshot wound. Personnel from the DC Fire and Emergency Medical Services responded to the scene and transported the victim to an area hospital for treatment.
An investigation revealed that the victim and an adult black male subject were engaged in an altercation inside the IHOP restaurant.
It is believed that the adult male subject who was initially in the altercation with the victim was accompanied by at least two other black male subjects and one other black female subject. Detectives are requesting that anyone with information regarding this incident or the identity of these subjects is asked to contact MPD at the below listed number.
Anyone who has information regarding this case should call police at 202-727-9099. Additionally information may be submitted to the TEXT TIP LINE by text messaging 50411. DC Crime Solvers currently offers a reward of up to $1,000 to anyone who provides information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for any assault with the intent to kill committed in the District of Columbia."
Twitter was flooded by public response to these hate crimes, which have as yet been unsolved.