Murder in the Name of a Name

Hate Crimes

Hate crimes are motivated by any number of reasons — frustration, anger, ideology — but rarely are they committed to avenge one's surname.

Ronald Gay, supposedly taunted on account of his last name, especially while a U.S. Marine, allegedly felt that he was exacting payback for his many sufferings when he decided to "go waste some faggots."

According to police, those were the words that Gay uttered minutes before he allegedly sprayed eight rounds at patrons of the Backstreet Café, a gathering place for the gay and lesbian community in Roanoke, Va.

John Collins told reporters that he was hugging his friend, Danny Overstreet, when Gay allegedly pulled a gun from his trench coat and began firing. Overstreet died. Collins, among five others injured, may never fully recover from the bullet that pierced his abdomen.

Gay has allegedly confessed to the crimes, for which he faces first-degree murder and malicious wounding charges.

When apprehended just after the attack, Gay told the arresting officer — and a video camera mounted in the officer's patrol car — that he had gone to "the fag bar and blew them away."