After Yelling A Gay Slur, Texas Man Allegedly Shoots And Kills A Woman At A Gas Station
On June 2, 2023, Akira Ross, 24, was fatally shot at a gas station outside Austin, Texas, in what her family believes was a hate crime.
Akira Ross, 24, was shot and killed outside of a gas station allegedly by Bradley Stanford, 23, after he shouted a homophobic slur at her. PEOPLE reported that her loved ones are asking authorities to investigate her murder as a hate crime since they are sure she was killed for being gay.
Two people, including Ross’s girlfriend Tanya, were accompanying Ross on the trip to Circle K after 9 p.m. on June 2, 2023. Ross and Tanya were having a small argument over a pizza order when they arrived, which their friend thought got Stanford’s attention, according to KXON. Ross got out to pump gas while her girlfriend went into the store, and that’s when Stanford approached Ross.
Stanford and Ross spoke. The accompanying friend wasn’t sure what Ross said but saw that Stanford got frustrated. He went back to his car, and that friend saw Stanford “digging around” in his car and thought he was getting a weapon.
Ross then went into the Circle K and told her girlfriend that Stanford was waving his gun around outside, KXON reported. The friend, who was still outside, texted Ross’s girlfriend to tell her the man had a gun.
Ross’s girlfriend asked the cashier to call for help. Ross went outside, and her girlfriend joined her and started filming the continuing conversation between Stanford and Ross. Stanford then shouted a homophobic slur and fired three rounds at Ross, according to Fox 7.
Ross was pronounced dead at the scene, and Stanford fled in his car.
Tanya provided the footage she took to the police to help track the shooter down. Police investigators tracked Stanford to Ingleside, Texas, where he was arrested two days after the shooting. He was booked into the San Patricio County Jail, and Yahoo! stated that his bond was set at $1,000,000.
The Cedar Park Police Department reported that Stanford has been charged with murder, a first-degree felony. For now, an active investigation into Ross’s murder is ongoing.
Anthony Hill, Ross’s father, explained to the Austin American-Statesman, "It was a hate crime. She didn't know him. She gets out of the car, and he starts calling her gay slurs for no reason."
"We are livid to hear a beautiful young person was shot down in cold blood on June 2 simply for being gay. We are also outraged that the city and the police department have not made it is evident that this was a hate crime,” Kelley Holiday, the secretary for Cedar Park Pride, a LGBTQ+ nonprofit, also told the publication.
A GoFundMe page has been set up to help with funeral and memorial costs for Akira Ross.
17-year-old Christine Michael had recently left a basketball game when someone began shooting at the car in which she was riding on Feb. 10.