hate crime suspect car blurred

ATLANTA (CBS46) -- LGBTQ community leaders are speaking out as police hunt for a murderer. Twenty-eight-year old Ronald "Trey" Peters was shot and killed on Orchard Circle in Decatur, Tuesday. The shooting is being investigated as a "hate motivated" homicide by DeKalb County Police.

Peters was walking down Orchard Street to the MARTA station as he prepared for work. While en route, two black men exited a nearby maroon truck, put on masks and demanded Peters give them his bag.

"Give me your bag, fa****," said one of the suspects, according to a witness.

Before Peters, who is an openly gay man, could fully react; he was shot in the chest and neck by one of the suspects. When his nearly lifeless body hit the pavement, the suspects grabbed his bag, ran back to the truck and fled the scene south towards Columbia Drive.

Peters was taken to an area hospital where he was pronounced dead at 9:15 a.m. When officers arrived to the 3400 block of Orchard Circle they found two shell casings.

A witness also told police a third suspect was the designated getaway driver.

Peters boyfriend, Joseph Davis, told police there had been an incident between his boyfriend and two men a week prior -- an incident in which Peters was verbally accosted and called a fa****.

A friend of Peters remembers him for his generosity saying quote, "Trey was always giving so much to others, sharing his talents and energy with those around him. He always was willing to help people and had a huge heart."

Witnesses gave police the image above of the maroon truck several people say they saw leaving the scene after the shooting.

Jeff Graham, Executive Director at Georgia Equality says this hate crime has a widespread impact on the entire LGBTQ community.

"It's an entire community that feels affected and impacted by this, wondering if they'll be targeted next," said Graham.

Graham commends DeKalb County Police for investigating this as, "hate motivated," because Georgia is one of only four states without hate crime laws. He says, that needs to change.

"If a crime of violence happens to someone based on their sexual orientation, their gender identity or any other characteristics--their race or nationality, religious beliefs [then they need to know] that it will be investigated and treated seriously as a hate crime," said Graham.

Anyone with any information about this crime is asked to contact DeKalb County Police or Crimestoppers at 404-577-TIPS (8477).

Copyright 2019 WGCL-TV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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(1) comment

jones91

I don't understand, if the police are looking for them, why only ONE news agency, the Georgia Voice, has remotely posted a description of the suspects. We have people on Facebook saying these must have been Trump supporters. They hardly fit the profile. There has been homophobia in the black community forever, and pretending these two aren't black just protects them and protects their community from facing that fact. Come on.

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