Police have ruled a shooting that took place at Atlanta Black Gay Pride Weekend was not based on anti-gay bias.
Around 5 a.m. on September 3, 27-year-old Ira Moorer was shot on Donald Lee Holloweell Parkway by 26-year-old Antonio Lonnell Starks. According to AJC, the two had gotten into an argument inside the 1050 Social Club. According to court records, the shooting “rendered [Moorer’s] lung useless.” He then spent weeks at the Grady Memorial Hospital to recover.
After the shooting, a GoFundMe page appeared to support Moorer. The page accused Starks of kicking and beating him while yelling homophobic slurs. Atlanta police then started investigating the case as a potential hate crime.
According to Carlos Campos, Atlanta Police Public Affairs Director, during the time, the department “brought in our Homeland Security team and LGBT liaisons to look into the bias crime allegations.”
But it now appears that investigation has run up dry. As Campos stated on Monday, “our investigators consulted with the FBI and our LGBT liaison and determined this case did not meet the criteria to be classified as a bias crime.”
Again, the police have deduced that the shooting was the result of a fight that started inside the club. Starks, who was a security guard for the establishment, was arrested on Oct. 25 on counts of aggravated assault, aggravated battery and possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony. He later pleaded not guilty to all counts.
Now that police say the case doesn’t classify as a bias crime, Starks will avoid federal hate crime charges. He currently does not have a set trial date.