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Durval Martins, a 35-year-old gay man, was murdered in Logan Circle last December. Martins was found, dead in the intersection, with his wallet in his hand. He had been shot multiple times in the head. He had not been robbed. No arrests have been made in Martins’ case.
On Tuesday May 19, Gays and Lesbians Opposed to Violence co-chairs Chris Farris and Todd Metrokin will hold a vigil to raise awareness about potential hate crimes in Washington, D.C., and to “renew focus” on Martins’ murder. Farris and Metrokin submitted the following companion piece detailing the progression of Martins’ case.
On a cold and drizzly night this past December, Durval Martins, a 35-year-old gay man and one of nine children, said good-bye to his friends on 17th Street and started his walk home. He never made it. He was shot to death at the intersection of 11th and Q.
Here is what we know about Durval’s murder:
* He was shot multiple times in the head
* He was shot while still in the intersection—-just before stepping up onto the sidewalk
* He still had his wallet in his hand—-nothing was stolen from him
* Two men were seen by police running from the scene of the shooting
* No arrests have been made, despite laudable efforts by the Metropolitan Police Department and community members to draw attention to the case
At this point in the investigation, we can’t be sure that Durval’s murder was related to his sexual orientation, but we do know for certain that he was not a victim of a robbery and that no other credible motive has been put forth. We also know it occurred against a backdrop of unsettling statistics on hate crimes based on sexual orientation in DC: hate crimes based on sexual orientation increased from a reported 26 in 2007 to 32 in 2008. In 2007, the percentage of hate crimes based on sexual orientation was 68 percent of all hate crimes reported in DC—-in 2008, that percentage increased to 74 percent. This compares to a national average of 15 percent.
In addition, Durval’s murder occurred just 7 blocks from the murder of Tony Hunter, who was beaten to death as he walked to BeBar with a friend two months before Durval’s murder.
A crime in our community strikes fear in all of us because it could happen to any of us, any of our friends, any of our family members. An attack against someone because they are a part of our cmmunity is a crime against all of us because it is meant to intimidate us. If Durval was targeted because he was gay, then any person perceived to be gay could have been attacked, or may be targeted next. If they so violently executed him because he was gay, then their motive was clear: to terrorize all gay people in the neighborhood and send a message that we are not welcome here, and we are not safe.
We need to take a stand. We need to raise awareness and help the police solve this case—-failure to do so keeps every one of us at risk. The killers who targeted Durval are, after all, still out there. And they very well may feel that they are beyond capture—-that they have literally gotten away with this murder.
GLOV, DC’s GLBT Anti-Violence Task Force, is organizing a vigil and march to raise awareness of hate crimes against the GLBT community and to renew focus on Durval’s murder so the police can get new leads and solve this case. Durval’s identical twin brother, Pedro, will be there to join us. We ask that you come, too—-bring friends, neighbors, colleagues, and families—-and please wear white to show your support. Take a stand and send a message back to the killers that says that they are the ones who are not welcome in our neighborhoods. And we will be safe in our city.