Did Gay Slur Spark Stabbings?
Police investigating claims that man accused of stabbing five others was the victim of a hate crime.
REYNOLDSTOWN — An Atlanta Police Department spokesman said Wednesday that the agency is investigating claims that a New Year's Eve stabbing incident involving six people at a party was sparked by a gay slur.
“We have received information that the incident was possibly preceded by a gay slur directed towards the arrestee," APD spokesman Carlos Campos told East Atlanta Patch Wednesday. "We are not sure if the information is credible, but are investigating the incident and will pursue this and any other leads."
Luke Patrick O'Donovan, 19, is charged with five counts of aggravated assault in the resulting fight.
Several of his friends and supporters who have started a support fund for his defense, say O'Donovan is the victim of a hate crime and was defending himself. They've solicited the help of the Atlanta Black Cross, a group organized to support the rights of prisoners.
"The motivations of the attack on Luke seem to originate in the fact that he had been seen dancing with and kissing other men earlier at the party," according to a statement on the Atlanta Black Cross page.
"Luke was repeatedly insulted with homophobic slurs throughout the night. The men who attacked Luke are known to have exhibited homophobic language and behavior in the past. Luke was called a [derogatory gay slur] during the fight."
A number of people who say they were at the party e-mailed Patch giving a similar sequence of events at 239 Gibson St.
While APD says it is investigating, Campos said O'Donovan remains charged with stabbing five people.
"It will be up to the judicial system to determine if there were any mitigating factors prior to the stabbings," he said. "Zone 6 investigators are in the preliminary stages of investigation, and our LGBT liaisons have also been alerted to the incident."
Anyone with information that might be helpful is urged to call APD Zone 6 investigators at 404.373.5331 or 5332.