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Florida shooting: A history of violence at gay venues in US

A brief look at violent incidents on gay men in the United States, a history of terror for the LGBT, even before the mass shooting at Orlando.

By: AP | Seattle | Updated: June 13, 2016 9:18:04 am


florida shooting, us florida shooting, gay killings, gay violence, violence on lgbt, orlando pub, orlando pub shooting, orlando survivors, new year Seattle attack, pulse club attack, orlando club attack, gay nightclub attacks, gay nightclub violence, florida photos, florida attack, florida attack photos, florida gay night club attack, Orlando pub attack, gay pub attack, international news, latest news Friends and family members embrace outside the Orlando Police Headquarters during the investigation of the shooting at the Pulse night club, where 50 people were killed after a gunman opened fire, in Orlando, Florida. (source: Reuters)

The deadly shooting early Sunday at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, follows several incidents of violence against people at gay venues.

At least 50 people were killed and at least 53 were wounded at the nightclub. The shooter died during a shootout with SWAT team members.

A look at some incidents since 1973:

Dec. 31, 2013: About 750 people were celebrating New Year’s Eve at a popular gay nightclub in Seattle when Musab Mohammed Masmari poured gasoline on a carpeted stairway and set it ablaze. No one was injured. Masmari was arrested a month later as he prepared to leave the country. He apologized in a statement to the court and said he didn’t remember his actions because he blacked out after drinking a bottle of cheap whiskey. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison for arson.

Full coverage: Read our coverage of the Florida shooting

March 1, 2009: Three men threw rocks into a gay bar in Galveston, Texas, injuring two male patrons. Brothers Lawrence Lewis III, 20 and Lawrneil Lewis, 18, along with their cousin Sam Gray, 17, were charged with a hate crime for throwing the rocks, which were apparently being used as doorstops, into Robert’s Lafitte bar.

Sept 22, 2000: Ronald Gay walked into the Backstreet Cafe, a gay bar in Roanoke, Virginia, and opened fire, killing one man and wounding six other patrons, two of them seriously. Gay, a 55-year-old drifter who told police he was upset over the slang connotation of his last name, pleaded guilty to the murder of 43-year-old Danny Overstreet and was sentenced to four life terms.

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Oct. 7, 1998: Gay college student Matthew Shepard was beaten into a coma while tied to a fence outside the small college town of Laramie, Wyoming. He never regained consciousness and died five days after the attack. His attackers, Aaron McKinney and Russell Henderson, claimed their motive was robbery to get money for drugs and not a hate crime. The crime spurred debate on the effectiveness of hate crime laws. McKinney and Henderson are serving life sentences for murder.

Feb. 21, 1997: A nail-laden device exploded in a back room of the Otherside Lounge, a nightclub in Atlanta with a mostly gay and lesbian clientele. The lounge was crowded with about 150 people when the device went off on a rear patio. Five people were wounded. Eric Rudolph was later convicted for the bombing as well as bombings at Centennial Olympic Park and abortion clinics in suburban Atlanta and Birmingham, Alabama. The 1996 Olympics bombing killed one person and wounded 111, and the Birmingham bombing killed a police officer and maimed a nurse. Rudolph is serving four life sentences in federal prison.

Nov. 27, 1978: San Francisco Mayor George Moscone and City Supervisor Harvey Milk, 48, a gay-rights activist, were shot to death inside City Hall by disgruntled former supervisor Dan White. Milk became one of the country’s first openly gay elected officials when he won a seat on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in 1977. White argued that junk food fueled his rampage. His now infamous “Twinkie defense,” supported by a psychiatrist, worked. Instead of murder, White was convicted of manslaughter. Thousands took to the streets in protest. White served a little more than three years in prison before he committed suicide.

June 24, 1973: The Upstairs Lounge fire in New Orleans’ French Quarter killed 32 people. Most of those killed were trapped by burglar bars on three front windows. A survivor said he believed someone dashed an inflammable liquid on the wooden stairway to the crowded second-floor lounge and lit it. The arsonist was never caught.

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