Residents of Miami Beach, Fla., are outraged by a New Year's morning shooting of a gay man in South Beach, reports The Miami Herald. Two men are in custody facing charges of attempted murder in what police say is a hate crime.
Police arrested Adrian Miller, 19, a college student from Long Branch, N.J., and Billy Ledan, 19, of Miami, as they drove across the MacArthur Causeway at about 7 a.m., shortly after the shooting. Both face charges of attempted murder and could face a hate-crime charge. Ledan was also charged with carrying a concealed weapon. Officials say Miller was the shooter. Both are in jail without bond.
The victim, Earnest Robinson, 23, of Hollywood was released Friday afternoon from Jackson Memorial Hospital, where he was treated for a gunshot wound to the shoulder.
Robinson, who says he has feminine features and is often mistaken for a woman, was heading home after spending New Year's Eve at a nightclub when the attack occurred, he said. While walking to his car, he said, he was approached by two men, one of whom tried to pick him up.
"They thought I was something I wasn't,'' Robinson said in a phone interview. "I said, 'Leave me alone. I'm a man.' His friend was laughing at him, and he got offended, and he shot me. I fell to the ground, and that's all I remember."
Police said Miller shouted an antigay slur before firing.
Robinson said he has never been the victim of an attack. ''I visit South Beach all the time and never had a problem,'' he said.
''It's shocking that it would happen on Miami Beach,'' said Heddy Pena, executive director of the gay rights group SAVE Dade. ''When we think of Miami Beach, we think of a community that is very gay-friendly. This demonstrates that we as a community have to be vigilant about making sure that people are treated with respect and dignity.''
Miami Beach mayor David Dermer condemned the attack: ''Miami Beach prides itself on being one of the most progressive cities in the country. We welcome everyone. This was a horrible crime, and our police department made an arrest almost immediately. I certainly hope that the perpetrators will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.''