A 26-year-old has been charged with murder and assault of two gay Detroit men.
Demetris Nelson of Detroit was charged with a laundry list of felonies, including first degree murder, felony murder, assault with intent to murder, assault with intent to rob while armed and four felony firearm counts.
On July 6, Nelson is alleged to have shot and killed Brian Anderson, a 31-year-old, as well as critically wounding Malcolm Drake, a 26-year-old. The shootings happened during the course of an attempted robbery.
Both gay men, Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy allege Nelson targeted both Anderson and Drake because of their sexual orientation. Officials believe Nelson used the social networking app Grindr to find the victims.
Detroit Police officers investigated the shooting for two days before identifying and arresting Nelson.
“The allegations are that social media contacts were used to target, contact, rob, fatally shoot one gay man, and seriously wound another gay man," Worthy said in a statement. "To some this will be just another hateful and violent act in America. They will read about this case and continue to go about their day. To me, that is quite tragic.”
The case was assigned to Special Prosecutor Jaimie Powell Horowitz of the Fair Michigan Justice Project (FMJP). The project is a collaboration between the prosecutors office and a program that assists law enforcement in solving serious crimes against the LGBTQ community.
"We are saddened and outraged by this despicable crime. This case is just the most recent example of how members of Detroit’s LGBTQ community are too often targets of violence," said Alanna Maguire, the Fair Michigan Project. "The Fair Michigan Justice Project is proud to partner with the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office and the Detroit Police Department to aggressively prosecute these ruthless crimes.”
Nelson was arraigned at 10:30 a.m. on Friday.
The suspect might be involved in a series of other incidents involving people he met using hookup apps.
According to sources contacted by local news station WXYZ, Nelson confessed to using different social networking apps to find his victims.
Nelson, who uses different profiles on social media sites to avoid being caught, had already been arraigned in another case on multiple charges that include, under his alias Lamont Daniels.
Two hours before he allegedly killed Anderson and critically injured Drake, he had used a firearm to rob another person he met through the app.
He’s also suspected of being involved in a home invasion on June 28, where a 12-year-old boy was sexually assaulted, according to WXYZ.
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