Lesbian Gunned Down at Texas Gas Station Because of Her Sexual Orientation, Family Says

by Xara Aziz
Family of Akira Ross

A Texas woman who was gunned down at a gas station was the target of a hate crime because of her sexuality, her family says.

On June 6, 24-year-old Akira Ross was at the gas station when Bradley Stanford, 23, approached her and started hurling gay slurs at her. He then waved a gun and shot her dead.

Bradley Stanford has been arrested and charged with first-degree murder.
Cedar Park Police Department

The Austin American Statesman, which originally reported the story, did not confirm whether the murder was due to a hate crime, although the victim’s family and witnesses believe so.

Anthony Hill, Ross’s father told the publication that “losing a daughter is like swallowing a razor blade … nobody wants to deal with that kind of pain.”

He continued: “Everybody just loved Akira. She loved bringing joy to other people. She wanted to be a hip-hop musician, and she was writing her own lyrics.”

The victim’s partner Tanya added that Ross went to the gas station with a friend when the suspect began making hateful comments towards her.

According to Tanya, Ross’ friend then texted the victim’s partner to say that a man was “waving a gun around, then proceeded to call 911 and began recording the incident.

“I was recording everything I saw before my own eyes, then I heard gunshots,” she said. She added that she began “running and screaming. We didn’t expect him to do what he did.”

Ross’ family has created a GoFundMe page to assist with funeral expenses. On the page, her family says she was shot and killed “for the sole reason of being queer.”

“I’m asking for the community and allies to come together in order to support the loss of our LGBTQIA+ sibling,” the page reads.

Stanford has been arrested and charged with first-degree murder.

“A report found that between 2020 and 2021, the highest number of hate crimes were reported in the US since the FBI began publishing data in 1991,” according to PINK News. “During that period, violence against LGBTQ+ people increased by 54 percent, anti-lesbian hate crimes increased by more than 80 percent and anti-gay hate crimes increased by 40 percent. Reported hate crimes based on gender identity increased nearly 30 percent from 2020 to 2021.”

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