Unfinished Lives

Remembering LGBT Hate Crime Victims

Fresno Drag Queens Targeted in Arson Attack by Bible-Verse-Spouter; Anti-Gay Hate Crime Suspected

Two gay drag artists, Brandon Jackson (l) and Chris Ruiz (r) show the charred remnants of their SUV to reporters.  Hate crime is suspected.

Two gay drag artists, Brandon Jackson (l) and Chris Ruiz (r) show the charred remnants of their SUV to reporters. Hate crime is suspected.

Fresno, California – Two gay men well-known in Fresno as drag artists say the arson attack on their vehicle was a hate crime solely because of their sexuality.  Local law enforcement authorities are investigating the possibility that they are right.  ABC Action News 30 reports that Brandon Jackson and his partner Chris Ruiz rushed to stop the fire that had been set to their SUV, but too late to save thousands of dollars of wigs and costumes they use in one of the most successful drag shows in Fresno County.

Ruiz told Fresno County Sheriff’s Deputies that as he ran out of the house to help douse the flames consuming their vehicle, a former lover of his partner’s mother confronted him with a torrent of anti-gay slurs. According to Ruiz, Chuck Bullock Jr. yelled at him, claiming to have set the blaze, “I’m lighting your f***ing car on fire f****t!”  Jackson and Ruiz also say that Bullock, whose father was a Christian minister, demeaned them with a flood of Bible verses, condemning them for being abominations.  The use of anti-LGBTQ slurs is a prime marker suggesting that the attack was bias motivated, and Deputies are investigating for a hate crime dimension.

After the attack, Bullock allegedly took responsibility for the crime in text messages sent to Jackson’s mother, his ex-lover.  He used more anti-gay slurs in the texts and accentuated his profanity with the threat, “I’m going to burn you down!”  Officers went to Bullock’s father’s home Tuesday looking for the suspect, but were unsuccessful.

ABC 30 videoed the wreckage of the totaled SUV: the melted interior, the charred remains of gowns and wigs, and even the imprints of Jackson’s hand on the hood where he vainly attempted to put the fire out with his bare hands. Jackson managed to put out the fire with a garden hose.  “The smell was god-awful and then it just looked as if it was melting – waxworks — it just looked like it was melting,” he told ABC 30 reporters. “And this was because, simply because of my sexuality.”  Thankfully, the loss of the vehicle, while costly, could have been far worse, and Jackson and Ruiz know it. Their SUV is a total loss, but they were the real target. They could have been immolated in their own home.

June 26, 2014 - Posted by | Anti-LGBT hate crime, Arson, Burning and branding, California, drag queens, gay men, GLBTQ, Hate Crimes, hate speech, Heterosexism and homophobia, Homosexuality and the Bible, LGBTQ, religious hate speech, religious intolerance, Slurs and epithets | , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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