Friends of a gay man murdered as he walked down a city street say he was murdered in a hate attack.
Ta’Ron ‘Rio’ Carson, 24, was fatally shot by an assailant in a black SUV as he left Aura nightclub in Kansas City, Mo. Sunday.
The Chiopotle and Sephora worker’s friends heard shots rang out and ran to his side, but Ta’Ron could not be saved.
Afterwards The Kansas City Anti-Violence Project speculated that he had been the victim of a hate crime.
In a statement seen by KCTV5, they said: ‘This act of violence follows a pattern in which LGBTQ+ people of color are most often directly targeted and suffer the highest number of fatalities.
‘According to the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs, 71 percent of LGBTQ+ homicides in 2017 were people of color.
‘We ask LGBTQ+ people to center the family and the voices of those most directly impacted by this attack so that we can best support them and come together in this tragic time.’
Police have since said they think he was shot in a case of mistaken identity, and have tracked down the vehicle involved in the crime, but have yet to make any arrests.
Friends and family paid tribute to Rio at a candlelit vigil Tuesday, with his dad Tarik telling the crowd: ‘Who you love is nobody’s damn business, as long as they love you.
‘And he did that.’
Other friends hailed Rio’s love of Beyonce, glamour, as well as makeup – and said his bold appearance helped make society a more accepting place.D. Rashann Gilmore said: ‘The beauty of Rio is that because of how he lived his life, it helped to free others to live their lives in that way.’Rio, he loved himself, and in loving yourself you are able to love so many more people,” she said.