A gay veteran in North Carolina is in critical condition after being attacked November 9 by a man who allegedly intended to kill a gay man that evening.
Garry Joseph Gupton, of Greensboro, N.C., is being held by police for assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injury with intent to kill, and his bail has been set for $150,000 QNotes reports.
Gupton reportedly met the victim, Stephen Patrick White, at local bar Chemistry Nightclub the evening of November 8. Hours later, the two are reported to have gone to a room at The Battleground Inn, where White was found naked, robbed, beaten, and intensely injured from fire when authorities responded to a fire alarm and a 911 call from the hotel regarding a screaming man at 4:30 a.m. Sunday.
According to Peidmont news station WGHP, authorities took Gupton into custody at the scene, as the rest of the guests at the hotel evacuated the building.
White is in critical condition after suffering burns on 52 percent of his body, according to QNotes. Drew Wofford, the owner of Chemistry Nightclub, organized a benefit for White's recovery this Friday, while Q Lounge has another benefit planned for Saturday.
"Steven has a long road ahead of him but he is a fighter and he is definitely not alone," Wofford said in a statement reported by QNotes. "I think I can speak for all of us when I say that we are all fighting for him. Also I remind you to please use caution when leaving our bar or any bar with someone you don’t know. I never would have dreamed something like this would happen here in Greensboro… but let's make sure it never happens again."
At press time, none of the reporting on the attack suggested any intent to investigate the assault as a hate crime. In fact, as the National LGBTQ Task Force notes, North Carolina's hate crimes legislation does not protect victims attacked on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender identity.