Three men were killed and one man was injured after a hit-and-run collision outside a popular Black-owned gay club in Chicago over the weekend, authorities said.
The incident “appears to be intentional based upon what everyone has seen,” CPD Chief of Detectives Brenden Deenihan told reporters during a press conference Monday.
Police say at approximately 5 a.m. on Sunday, a sedan sped up and ran over four men on the street outside The Jeffrey Pub, one of Chicago’s longest-running LGBTQ bars.
According to Deenihan the incident appears to have started with “an argument inside the establishment,” which then spilled out onto the street.
“Then you can see that this individual gets into the car and then commits this horrific act,” which led to the killings of 27-year-old Devonta K. Vivetter, 25-year-old Donald Huey, and 23-year-old Jaylen Ausley.
A fourth victim, Carlee J. McKinney, was taken to a local hospital and survived.
McKinney, who lost his two best friends — Vivetter and Huey — in the collision, told ABC Chicago that he doesn’t remember the impact.
“All I remember is I was trying to get my close family friend, I call him my cousin, I was trying to get him from fighting another male,” he said.
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“By the time we got halfway in the street, this car came from the street and I seen it through the periphery, seen the bright light,” McKinney added. “That’s what made me jump back. Next thing I know I was hit and woke up in the ambulance.”
The incident is currently not being investigated as a hate crime.
“We don’t have any evidence to support that someone was trying to harm these individuals because of their race, religion, etc,” Deenihan said.
But LGBTQ rights advocates are blasting the CPD for not taking violence against LGBTQ people of color seriously, and urging authorities to investigate the attack as a crime motivated by hate.
“It is incumbent upon the Chicago Police Department to investigate this attack as more than just a triple homicide and attempted murder, but also as a potential hate crime,” David J. Johns, executive director of the National Black Justice Coalition, said in a statement.
According to the NBJC, the nation’s leading Black LGBTQ civil rights organization, Chicago is experiencing “a wave of violence against LGBTQ+ people, specifically Black LGBTQ+/SGL (same-gender-loving) people — that the police are simply not taking seriously. “
“We are owed equal protection under the law — and we demand that the law enforcement community treat attacks against us with the urgency and seriousness we deserve,” Johns added.