A shooting that left a gay man critically wounded at a Columbia Heights restaurant last weekend has been classified as a hate crime, but further details about the incident are still under investigation, police spokesman Officer Araz Alali said Friday.
The shooting occurred at an IHOP restaurant at 14th and Irving streets NW around 6:30 a.m. Sunday morning. Police said earlier this week that the shooting happened after the victim had argued with another man, who was accompanied by two other men and a woman. A reward of $1,000 has been offered for anyone offering information leading to an arrest, and a description of the suspects is here.
Police said at a news conference Thursday that there was no connection between the IHOP shooting and the severe beating and robbery of a gay man March 12 at the intersection of Georgia Avenue and Irving Street NW. There also was no connection with an assault that knocked a transgender woman unconscious at West Virginia Avenue and Mt. Olivet Street NE one day later. However, both crimes are being also being categorized as crimes against the gay and transgendered community according to The Washington Blade.
Mayor Vincent C. Gray (D) and D.C. Council member Jim Graham (D-Ward 1), have spoken out publicly about the attacks.
“This cannot and will not stand in the District of Columbia,” Gray said in a statement released Thursday, “where all of our residents have the right to walk the streets of our neighborhoods free of fear, regardless of their identities, beliefs or characteristics.”
Graham e-mailed constituents in his ward Friday and called the crimes deplorable.
“I am prepared to work with all the victims, and other stakeholders, to see that justice is done here,” Graham wrote.
A march for the victims will be held March 20 at 7 p.m. and will begin at the IHOP, according to a Facebook event page titled “Silent March for Victims of GLBT Violence.”