In a shocking plot, four men aged between 18 and 21 have been charged with conspiring to cause bodily injury to people based on their sexual orientation. The crimes occurred in late January – early February 2017, in Plano, Frisco, and Aubrey. The men have since been charged with a federal hate crime, which could mean life in prison.
These men pretended to be gay on the dating app Grindr to find victims. Then, under this pretense, they gained access to their victim’s homes. Once inside they proceeded to threaten their victims with guns and robbed them.
The accused men are Anthony Shelton, 19; Nigel Garrett, 21; Chancler Encalade, 20; and Cameron Ajiduah, 18 and if found guilty, it is certainly a crime that could be punished with the full force of the law. These men tied up and assaulted their victims, stole their property, including cars, and made homophobic slurs during the attacks.
Jeanne Rubin, the president of the North Texas Gay and Lesbian Alliance President was glad the assaults and robberies have been classed as hate crimes and said:
“You can be scared as a homeowner if your neighbor is robbed, but it’s different if you feel like you’re being targeted for some reason and in this case a whole community can feel like they’re targeted.”
It begs the question, how can people have such hate in their heart to do such a thing? It is hard to believe that there are people in society who could stoop so low as this. The most haunting thing about this crime is how calculated and premeditated it was. The fact that they could pretend to be gay online for the purpose of violent robberies is a terrible low.
Obama’s recognition of same sex marriage was such a step forward for the entire community, a step towards equality. Then when hate crimes targeting a vulnerable community can still happen, it is one giant step back.
Featured image via YouTube.