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Mich. Man Allegedly Used Grindr App to Lure and Shoot 2 Men Because They Were Gay

Christine Pelisek
Detroit Man Allegedly Targeted, Shot 2 Gay Men Using Grindr

A Detroit man who allegedly used the dating app Grindr to target gay men to rob them is accused of fatally shooting one man and seriously wounding another.

Demetris Nelson, 26, has been charged with first-degree murder and felony murder in connection with the fatal shooting of Brian Anderson, 31, and assault with intent to murder in connection with the shooting of a 26-year-old man, who is in critical condition.

Nelson is also charged with assault with the intent to rob while armed, felon in possession of a firearm and four counts of felony firearm.

Wayne County prosecutors say Nelson shot the two men on July 6 during the course of an attempted robbery. Nelson, prosecutors allege, targeted Anderson and the other man because they were gay.

In a press release, prosecutor Kym Worthy said, “The allegations are that social media contacts were used to target, contact, rob, fatally shoot one gay man, and seriously wound another gay man. To some this will be just another hateful and violent act in America. They will read about this case and continue to go about their day. To me, that is quite tragic.”

“We are saddened and outraged by this despicable crime,” Fair Michigan President Alanna Maguire said in a statement. “This case is just the most recent example of how members of Detroit’s LGBTQ community are too often targets of violence. The Fair Michigan Justice Project is proud to partner with the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office and the Detroit Police Department to aggressively prosecute these ruthless crimes.”

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Fair Michigan assists Michigan law enforcement officers and prosecutors solve crimes against LGBTQ people.

Nelson allegedly confessed to the crimes, according to FOX2.

“You stated that you allegedly got into the backseat of the Ford Edge allegedly producing a 9mm silver black handgun, announcing a robbery,” Magistrate Jeffrey Kleparek said at Nelson’s arraignment Friday in 36 District Court, according to FOX2. “And then, allegedly proceeding to shoot victim two in the back of the head.”

It is unclear if Nelson has retained an attorney who could speak on his behalf.

Officers were called to the scene at 4:15 a.m. on July 6 and found a vehicle crashed over the side of the ramp on the side of the I-94.

“They went to the I-94 and discovered [the wounded victim] in the front passenger seat and Brian Anderson was the driver,” Maria Miller, Wayne County assistant prosecuting attorney, tells PEOPLE. “Anderson died from a gunshot wound. [The wounded victim] was assaulted but he survived.”

Nelson was arrested on July 8.

A preliminary hearing is scheduled for August 2.