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|Atlanta police investigate deaths of Black Gay Pride attendees|
|by Dyana Bagby|
|September 06, 2010 13:57|
Two men, a Georgia State student and a visitor from out of town who were believed to have been participating in Atlanta's Black Gay Pride, were found shot to death last night in an apartment.
Otis Redding, a spokesperson for the Atlanta Police Department, told Georgia Voice the men were shot in a southeast Atlanta apartment and that one was a temporary resident and the other was visiting from out of town.
The AJC identified the victims Samuel Blizzard Jr., 21, of Spring Cove, Va. Blizzard was a Georgia State University student, according to the AJC. Calvin Streater, 26, of Atlanta is the other victim.
"The men were at a Black Gay Pride event at some point during the day...We do not know if their sexual orientation played a role in the shooting deaths," Redding said in a statement.
Carlos Campos, manager of public affairs for the APD, told the Georgia Voice that LGBT liaison Patricia Powell has been informed of the incident and because of the egregiousness of the crime she also went to the scene last night. The APD's standard procedure is to only inform the LGBT liaison of any potential bias crime.
"We have learned in fact they attended some Black Gay Pride activity that day," he said. There is no overt evidence the shooting deaths had anything to do with the fact the men were at a gay event, he added.
"We have no suspects, no motives it was a bias crime," Campos said. The investigation is "wide open" to all possible motives for the crime, he added.
"Officer Powell was engaged last night and went to the scene last night. She's been monitoring side events at Pride all weekend," Campos said. "She was called to the scene because of the terrible nature of the crime," he said. "She'll be working with the victims of the families."
The shooting was a terrible event and there is no reason at this time to suspect the men attending Black Gay Pride played any role in their deaths, Campos added.
With Black Gay Pride, Dragon*Con, the LSU football game and other major events, Campos said overall this has been a very good weekend for public safety.
"It's tragic anytime someone is killed, but this has been a good, safe weekend for the most part," he said.
Attendance at Black Gay Pride have been well attended. Thousands of people packed Traxx Nightclub Saturday to see the red-rap star Nicki Minaj. She told the crowd it was her first Gay Pride and she had never had so much fun singing one of her songs as she did with the audience of thousands of men drowning her out as they sang along.
The State of Black Gay America summit, sponsored by In the Life Atlanta and Xtreme Entertainment, had panel discussions about health and well-being of the community as well.
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