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Top Stories This Week in the Chronicle.
January 12, 2007

Alderman says 'Gay House' attack wasn't a hate crime

Chicago--The city�s only openly gay alderman says that a December 31 gun attack on a house party in which six men were shot was not a hate crime.

Alderman Tom Tunney, who also owns the Ann Sather Restaurant, said that police believe the attack was carried out following a dispute at the party in what is known in the neighborhood as the �gay house.�

Police think some of the men involved in the argument left, returning later in ski masks and carrying guns. When they entered the house, they opened fire, wounding six people, two of them seriously.

Police were at first uncertain of a motive for the shooting, which took place at around 5:30 am. The men said nothing as they fired their weapons and then left.

The crowd gathered for the party were mostly male and mostly African American.

�We will continue to work with [the police] and ask them to make sure that they uncover every clue so that it at least gives some degree of credibility to their investigation,� Tunney told WBBM, a Chicago news radio station. �While it sounds on the surface that it could be a hate crime and potentially somebody out there could cause further damage, they actually believe it�s an isolated incident.�

Police spokeswoman Monique Bond told the Windy City Times LGBT newspaper on January 5, �The investigation is ongoing. Detectives continue to talk to witnesses and victims. At this point in the investigation, we still have no information or evidence to investigate the case as a hate crime. However, the Civil Rights Unit is prepared to assist if needed.

By the time of that statement, five of the six victims had been released from the hospital.

A January 6 forum on the attack brought out 100 people to participate in a panel discussion that included Alderman Michelle Harris, whose district includes the house where the shooting took place.

�The community meeting was extremely well-attended, and it included many concerned citizens,� said Bill Greaves of the city�s Advisory Council on GLBT Issues. �Everyone clearly and strongly expressed their concerns to the police, the alderman and to each other. It was one of the best meetings, in terms of community turnout and exchange,� that I have ever been to.�

A January 8 forum on the attack had CNN talking to one of the victims, and two other events are scheduled for January 18 and will be at the Youth Pride Center, focusing on the safety of LGBT youth in the area.

�Youths come out at two and three in the morning because they feel they can�t be themselves during the day,� said Tommy Avant Garde of Project VIDA, an AIDS service organization. �That has to change.�

 

 

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