A Detroit man has been charged with killing three people and attempting to kill two others because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.
Devon Robinson, 19, has been charged with three counts of first-degree murder in the shootings of 21-year-old Alunte Davis, a gay man; 20-year-old Paris Cameron, a transgender woman; and 20-year-old Timothy Blancher, another gay man, in a home on Detroit’s east side.
Two other victims were shot, but survived, in the attack, which occurred around 5 a.m. on May 25.
“The allegation is that…the homicide victims were targeted and killed because they were part of the LGBTQ community,” Maria Miller, a spokeswoman for the office of Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy, told the Detroit Free Press.
“The alleged actions of this defendant are disturbing on so many levels, but the fact that this happened during Pride Month adds salt into the wound,” Worthy said in her own statement. “We must remain ever vigilant in our fight to eradicate hate in Wayne County and beyond.”
Robinson, who was arrested on Wednesday, has also been charged with two counts of felony assault with intent to murder and five counts of the use of a firearm in connection with a felony. He has since been arraigned and remains in custody pending trial.
The case is being handled by Special Prosecutor Jaimie Powell Horowitz of the Fair Michigan Justice Project, a partnership between the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office and the nonprofit Fair Michigan Foundation, Inc., that seeks to solve crimes directed against members of the LGBTQ community.
“This case illustrates the mortal danger faced by members of Detroit’s LGBTQ community, including transgender women of color,” Fair Michigan President Alanna Maguire said in a statement. “The LGBTQ community knows that the Fair Michigan Justice Project, the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office and the Detroit Police Department stand ready to aggressively prosecute these brutal crimes.”
The Human Rights Campaign also responded to news that the victims had been targeted because of their LGBTQ status, calling the murders “horrifying and heartbreaking.”
“The epidemic of hate violence that targets people of color and LGBTQ people, particularly Black trans people, is an urgent crisis,” HRC Press Secretary Sarah McBride said in a statement. “Our policymakers and leaders must do more to ensure the safety and dignity of every person in our country.”