Atlanta police are investigating if the death of a 28-year-old who was fatally shot on Tuesday in an Atlanta suburb as attackers hurled homophobic slurs was motivated by him being gay.
Ronald "Trey" Peters was walking to work from a public transit station in Decatur when two men in a car demanded he give them his backpack. One got out of the car and confronted him.
"When Trey jerked away from him and said, 'It's my bag, you're not getting it,' the driver got out with a louder voice yelling, 'Give him the fucking bag, fag," witness Kevin Pickering told Atlanta TV station WGCL. "The passenger walked back toward the vehicle and the driver got out and started firing."
The young man was reportedly shot twice.
Police have classified the shooting as hate-motivated, and no arrests have been made connected to the incident, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. However, Georgia has no hate-crimes laws that cover violence motivated by sexual orientation.
"Unfortunately, this deadly attack is not a rare or isolated event. Rather, this is the latest in a long string of hate-motivated incidents," Allison Padilla-Goodman, the Southeast regional director of the Anti-Defamation League, said in a statement.
Peters's death comes in the wake of at least nine trans women being murdered so far this year alone, and just days after Detroit police announced that a recent triple homicide was motivated by anti-LGBTQ sentiment.
"[Trey] was taken from this earth in act of violence, but we will not let hate win!" the page reads. "Trey was always giving so much to others, sharing his talents and energy with those around him. He always was willing to help people and had a huge heart. Now it is our turn to give back in honor of him."
Almost $3,000 has been raised at time of reporting.