A case is moving ahead against a man accused of killing three LGBTQ+ people in Detroit.
Prosecutors say 19-year-old Devon Kareem Robinson shot and killed 21-year-old Alunte Davis, 20-year-old Timothy Blancher, and 20-year-old Paris Cameron on May 25. Davis and Blancher were Black gay men, while Cameron was a trans woman of color. At the time of her death, she was the seventh transgender person killed in 2019.
Several others were wounded in the altercation.
The cause of the shooting is difficult to understand. Initial reports suggested that Robinson was an angry ex-boyfriend of one of the victims, but the Wayne County Prosecutor's Office said he targeted them "strictly on their being part of the LGBTQ+ community."
"The alleged actions of this defendant are disturbing on so many levels, but the fact that this happened during Pride Month adds salt into the wound,” Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy told the Detroit news station WDIV. “We must remain ever vigilant in our fight to eradicate hate in Wayne County and beyond."
Clifton Keys, who survived the attack, claimed he and his friends met Robinson at a gas station, and that Cameron invited him to a house party. Keys said Robinson eventually left the party, then returned in the early morning and began shooting indiscriminately.
Special Prosecutor Jaimie Powell Horowitz is prosecuting the case on behalf of Fair Michigan Justice Project.
“This case illustrates the mortal danger faced by members of Detroit’s LGBTQ+ community, including transgender women of color," Fair Michigan President Alanna Maguire told the Detroit Free Press. "The LGBTQ+ community knows that the Fair Michigan Justice Project, the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office, and the Detroit Police Department stand ready to aggressively prosecute these brutal crimes.”
During the presentation of evidence, police showed video footage from neighborhood surveillance cameras that appear to place Robinson near the scene of the killing.
“He waits an hour to go to his house,” Horowitz said. “He changes his clothes, put on something to cover his face ... and then heads ... over to Devonshire, where he commits the shooting of three people.”
Keys testified that the shooter was wearing a black ski mask and black skull cap. Although prosecutors claimed Robinson opened fire because he was “upset,” the survivor claimed the cause of the perpetrator’s distress is still unclear. He claimed that he “couldn’t tell what was going on in his head.”
“I couldn’t tell if he was happy, sad or mad,” Keys said, describing his face as “blank.”