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Manager of Ind. Gay Bar Says Shooting was a Hate Crime

by Jason St. Amand

National News Editor

Tuesday July 24, 2012

A bar manager in Indianapolis, Ind., is positive that the drive-by shooting that took place last weekend was a hate crime, the Indianapolis Star reported.

Police are currently investigating the shooting that occurred at Gregs, a gay bar in downtown Indianapolis. They have reported that a blown out window was caused by "possible gunfire."

"It was obviously a bullet," said Phil Denton, the manager who was working during the night of the incident. "We've had rocks thrown at us, and names shouted at us, but never before a bullet."

According to the police report, the incident was described as "vandalism" and there are "no suspects or witnesses." Additionally, no bullet was found and no one was hurt.

After Denton talked to individuals at the bar he claims the shot was fired from a "Mercury or a Lincoln."

He also said that several gay bars cover their windows "to protect peoples' identities, and to protect against rocks" but many years ago Gregs and other local gay bars removed the window covers.

"The times being what they are, and the acceptance coming around, we decided it was time," Denton said.

A similar incident occurred in early June when police said the Velvet Rope Ultra Lounge, a club in a Chicago suburb, was destroyed by arson. The establishment's owner, Frank Elliott, 25, believes the lounge was targeted because anti-gay slurs were discovered on the club's walls.

The authorities declared the building a crime scene after they spent seven hours combing through the damaged nightclub and took several photos. Officials from the Oak Park Police Department released a statement and said there was "probable cause to indicate arson may have been the cause of the fire."

"They said it was arson," said Elliott. "I'm making the assumption it was a hate crime."