LITTLE FIVE POINTS — In a symbolic show of unity and to take a stand against at what they say is homophobia, more than two dozen friends and supporters of Luke Patrick O'Donovan met Sunday evening in a "town hall" meeting to support their incarcerated friend.
O'Donovan, 19, remains in police custody following a New Year's Eve stabbing incident in Reynoldstown that left six people — including himself — injured with stab wounds.
He is charged with five counts of aggravated assault.
The victims have said the stabbings followed an argument they had with O'Donovan at the party.
But his friends, who formed the Support Luke Defense Committee that met at the Little Five Points Community Center, dispute that account. They say he was the victim of homophobic slurs after he was seen kissing another man and only defended himself after being attacked.
They also expressed frustration over initial media reports they said unfairly portrayed their friend as a crazed man on a stabbing rampage, and anger and fear over the possibility of being victims themselves of homophobic attacks.
They spent part of the meeting discussing ways to raise awareness of such incidents and preventative steps to take to keep from being victimized.
Atlanta police have launched an investigation into the claims that the incident was a homophobic attack.
On Sunday, an Atlanta Police Department spokesman said the case remains active.
"The assigned detective is continuing the investigation and interviewing witnesses," Sgt. Gregory Lyon said.
Meanwhile, O'Donovan's supporters said they have raised more than $3,600 toward his defense for the Luke O'Donovan Support Fund.