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Man Charged with Murder in Fatal Shooting of Gay Woman at Texas Gas Station, Family Urges Investigation as Hate Crime

According to multiple news reports, a man has been accused of fatally shooting a gay woman outside a gas station in Texas. The victim’s loved ones are calling on authorities to treat the incident as a hate crime, believing that she was targeted because of her sexual orientation.

On June 2, at approximately 9:50 p.m., 24-year-old Akira Ross was pumping gas at a Cedar Park gas station, an Austin suburb, when an unknown man shot and killed her, as stated by the Cedar Park Police Department. Sadly, she was pronounced dead at the scene, and the assailant fled in his vehicle.

The alleged shooter, identified as a 23-year-old man, was apprehended on June 4 around 5:15 p.m. in Ingleside, Texas, over 200 miles south, following an investigation by authorities.

He is currently held in the San Patricio County Jail, facing charges of first-degree murder. Information about his bond and legal representation is not yet available.

While specific details leading up to the shooting are limited, Ross’s partner and father revealed to the Austin American-Statesman that the accused individual reportedly directed homophobic slurs at Ross before the attack.

Ross’s father, Anthony Hill, expressed his belief that the incident was a hate crime, stating, “It was a hate crime. She didn’t know him. She gets out of the car, and he starts calling her gay slurs for no reason.”

Tanya, Ross’s partner, who was present with her and another friend at the gas station during the tragic event, reported that Stanford, the alleged shooter, was seen brandishing a firearm near the convenience store. Tanya also mentioned that Stanford approached Ross and asked to shake her hand while she was pumping gas.

Tanya recorded a portion of the conversation, excluding the actual shooting, and provided it to the Cedar Park police to aid in identifying the gunman. “We didn’t expect him to do what he did,” Tanya expressed, Hill told KVUE.

According to the police, there was a verbal altercation between Stanford and Ross in the parking lot before the fatal shooting took place. However, authorities have not released further details at this time.

As the investigation continues, Hill is grappling with an unimaginable loss. He shared his grief, stating, “But to get a call to say your child is dead, that’s it. That’s like swallowing a razor blade. It’s unimaginable, unthinkable, inhumane to have to leave this earth like that.”

To assist Ross’s family with funeral and memorial expenses, a GoFundMe page has been established. The fundraiser highlights the tragic incident as a targeted act of violence against an LGBTQIA+ individual and calls for community support during a month meant for celebrating freedom and self-expression.

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