A New Jersey gym known to be a safe space for the LGBT community was the victim of a shocking attack in late August. G-City Crossfit gym had an explosive device placed on the front door of the fitness center, which subsequently detonated. As the incident occurred around 4am, no one was injured, although the subsequent explosion destroyed the door and shattered the glass. An LGBT flag proudly hangs from the window of the establishment, which indicated to the owners and the surrounding community that the motive may be based in hate.
Earlier this month, a man was charged with the hate crime against this business. Dwayne A Vandergrift Jr, 35, was charged by federal authorities on September 4 for causing devastating damage to the Gloucester City gym, in addition to unlawful possession of two destructive devices as well as unlawful possession of a short-barrelled rifle. The press release goes on to indicate that when federal and local officials executed a warrant at Vandergrift’s home, they also found “substantial quantities of bomb making materials, numerous weapons, including an unregistered short barreled rifle, several tactical vests outfitted with body armor and loaded 30-round ammunition magazines, and a marijuana grow operation containing approximately 85 marijuana plants. Upon examining Vandergrift’s personal computer devices, investigators discovered that he had recently researched how to construct and utilize various explosive devices, including pipe and pressure cooker bombs.”< The Attorney General presently does not have a motive that they have announced. Vandergrift faces a total prison term of at least twenty years, in addition to a maximum fine of $250,000.em.
The Attorney General presently does not have a motive that they have announced. As for Vandergrift, he faces a total prison term of at least twenty years, in addition to a maximum fine of $250,000.
On his website, LIFT With Pride, Lifting Culture owner Steven Vitale indicated that the facility is owned by Jenai Gonzales and her wife Ann Panarello & that the gym is a “known safe-haven in the area for LGBT+ youth” and many of its personal trainers and staffers are members of the LGBT community. The community that G-City has built are shaken, but not broken. Vitale emphatically stated on his website that “G-City Crossfit had, and will continue to have, a large gay Pride flag displayed prominently in their front door.”
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