D.C. police homicide detectives are investigating the shooting death of a 21-year-old gay man who was found lying in the street unconscious near the intersection of 16th and Galen Streets, S.E. about 3:44 a.m. on Thursday, June 25, according to a police statement.
The statement says Stephon Marquis Perkins, a Maryland resident, was taken to a nearby hospital, where he was pronounced dead. A police source said the cause of death appeared to be a gunshot wound to the head.
The source, who spoke on condition of not being identified, said there was no evidence so far to indicate the murder was a hate crime. Although police have not disclosed whether they have uncovered a motive for the killing, the police source said the area where Perkins was shot is considered a “dangerous” high-crime area and the shooting could have resulted from a robbery gone bad.
An employee of the D.C. LGBT community services center Casa Ruby, who identified herself only as Molly H., told the Blade she and Perkins were close friends and that Perkins identified as gay.
“He was almost like family,” she said. “He was a kind, open hearted person. He could be the life of the party.”
The police source said homicide detectives investigating the case have spoken to Perkins’ boyfriend and have consulted with the department’s Gay and Lesbian Liaison Unit as part of their investigation into the incident.
Police have also notified a coalition of local LGBT groups known as the Violence Prevention and Response Team, or VPART, about the case, the source said. The groups, which include Gays and Lesbians Opposing Violence (GLOV), had not released a public statement about the incident as of Tuesday morning.