Thursday, September 23, 2010

Roanoke's LGBT Community Remembers

A crowd of about 50 to 60 people turned out tonight to take part in a candle light vigil to remember the tragic hate crime committed at the Backstreet Cafe on Salem Ave. in Roanoke ten years ago tonight. The event was organized by Roanoke Equality's Frank House and Rev. Joe Cobb of MCC of the Blue Ridge.

Ronald Gay, had started the evening at a downtown bar a few blocks from the Backstreet and asked an employee where he could find a gay bar. The employee told him about The Park, a popular dance club on Salem Ave. Gay told the employee he was going to waste some faggots. The employee called police, who alerted managers at the Park and headed there hoping to stop the shooter.

According to someone who was at the Backstreet that night, who spoke to me on condition of anonymity,  Ronald Gay entered the bar and sat down for a drink to gather his courage before heading to The Park. When he realized he was in a gay bar, he pulled out his gun and opened fire, randomly targeting patrons.

Danny Overstreet had been celebrating a birthday with friends. He laid on top of another shooting victim to protect him and was shot and killed.

Ronald Gay is currently serving four consecutive life terms. The first video below video comes courtesy of WDBJ-7, the 2nd is from WSLS NewsChannel 10.


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