Unfinished Lives

Remembering LGBT Hate Crime Victims

Gay Man Gunned Down in His Florida Driveway

Mark Scott HarrissMark Scott Harriss, 30, looked forward to moving to Canada to get married to his fiancé, Ross Salvosa.  Instead, he was shot to death around 8:30 pm in his Delray Beach, Florida driveway on Monday, May 11, 2009.  Was it a hate crime?  He had  multiple gunshot wounds, and there was no evidence of robbery, according to investigators.  Though authorities have not yet made the determination that his murder was a hate crime, friends of Harriss think it was likely.  Professor Earl Fox from the University of Miami School of Medicine knew him well, and the neighborhood where he lived.  Fox noted to the Palm Beach Post that another friend of his who lives in the same area as Harriss had a Nazi swastika painted on her car earlier this year because she is Jewish.  “If somebody is shot multiple times and nobody takes anything, that is just strange,” Fox told reporters.

Police told WPBF television, an ABC affiliate, that Harris was shot 12 times at close range in a manner resembling an “assassination.”  Homophobia is under consideration as a motive for the murder, officers said.

Harriss grew up in Fredericksburg, Texas, in the Hill Country.  He was an enthusiastic water skier, and loved gardening, according to his high school classmate, Theresa Valenzuela, of Austin.  He had moved to Florida in 2007 to take a job with Best Western Motels.  Salvosa, a classical piano student, lived with him until his student visa expired, at which time he returned to his native home in Vancouver, British Columbia.  Harriss was tying up loose ends as quickly as he could in Delray Beach, so that he could find a job in Canada, go to live there in early summer, and marry his beloved.

Now Salvosa is returning to Florida to mourn Harriss and to oversee his memorial service.  Harriss wished to be cremated, and to have his ashes interred back in New Braunfels, Texas, a city between Austin and San Antonio.

Investigations into Harriss’ savage murder continue, and the Delray Police Department vow to follow all leads until the tragic mystery of this killing is resolved.

May 16, 2009 - Posted by | Florida, Heterosexism and homophobia, Marriage Equality | , , , , ,

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