Double shooting being investigated as possible hate crime

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Posted: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 6:30 pm | Updated: 4:49 pm, Fri Mar 29, 2013.

SARASOTA - Police are investigating whether a shooting in Sarasota Tuesday night was a hate crime, because one of the men shot is in the process of changing his gender to become a woman.

Sarasota Police continue to search for the man accused the shooting.  They say they have a repeat offender on their hands who was recently released from prison for murder.

The suspect is 39-year-old Joseph Lamar. He was convicted of 2nd -degree murder in a killing back in December of 1991. He got a sentence of 25 years, but got out of prison in September of last year.

The address Lamar told prison officials that he lived after his release is on Gillespie Street in Newtown.

Police continue to look for him and consider him armed and dangerous.

The shooting happened Tuesday around 10pm in the area of 32nd Street and Lemon Avenue.  That's where they say Lamar shot the two people: one a 22-year-old man dressed in women's clothes who had to be flown to Blake Medical Center in Bradenton; the other a 19-year-old man who was taken to Sarasota Memorial.

Police originally thought that one victim was a woman, because one of the men wore women's clothing at the time of the shooting, and his driver's license identifies him as female. Turns out he is transgendered, but has not had the surgery to become a woman.

Lamar faces serious charges from the shooting itself, but could face more if police learn that it connects to a victim's gender. “If we find out that it is involved with a hate crime, we will aggressively go after bringing charges. Right now we have no evidence of that specifically,” says Sarasota Police Chief Bernadette DiPino.

Police believe there may also be a second person involved with the shooting.

If you know where Lamar might be or have any information on this case, Sarasota Police ask you to call them at 954-7025.

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  • KarenMichelle posted at 11:01 am on Thu, Jan 10, 2013.

    KarenMichelle Posts: 1

    If the person's drivers license reflects a female gender then this WOMAN has met the "legal" requirements of "Florida law" to be identified by that gender. Surgery is no longer a prerequisite for changing ones gender. I would ask that you find an appropriate authority on transgender people and educate yourself on why it is no longer a requirement.

    The fact that the license says female means this woman produced a signed letter from their medical provider swearing the person meets the requirements of the law to be legally recognized as that gender for identification. This is also the law at the Dept of Homeland Security.

    That would mean you were being purposely disrespectful and provided unnecessary and untrue information relevant to this story. The fact that one of the victims is transgender was not important to the story.

    I would think the important piece is the fact that people were shot and an armed and dangerous person is being sought. A transgender victim has no relevance.

    I would refer you to something "Professional Journalists" use and obviously was missed here. That would be the use of the Associated Press Style book. Refer to the section on identifying transgender persons correctly and respectfully. You might also find help from GLAAD.ORG.

    You might be hearing from them anyway.

  • msettemb posted at 11:36 pm on Wed, Jan 9, 2013.

    msettemb Posts: 1

    GLAAD has a reference guide for journalists writing stories about transgender people. It can be found here:

    This is a terrible tragedy and I hope the victims recover quickly!


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