A 28-year-old Decatur man shot and killed on his way to work was the target of a hate-motivated crime, police said in an incident report obtained Thursday by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Witnesses said the gunman used an anti-gay slur as he ordered Ronald Peters to turn over his bag, the report said.
Peters died after he was shot multiple times on Orchard Circle near Decatur, the DeKalb County Medical Examiner confirmed.
Police checked the box indicating a “hate motivated” incident on a police report. They declined to elaborate. Georgia is one of just four states that does not have a hate crimes law, which allow for steeper penalties against certain bias-related crimes.
RELATED: DeKalb police investigate 2 fatal shootings within miles of each other
The fatal shooting happened about 8:30 a.m. Tuesday. Peters was on his way to the MARTA station before work, his partner told police.
Multiple witnesses said that as Peters walked down the roadway, two men got out of a truck and put on masks, the report said.
The men told Peters to hand over his bag, a witness said. The incident report indicates one of the men then called Peters an anti-gay slur.
“The witness then stated one of the unidentified suspects shot the victim in the chest with a chrome pistol, then proceeded to shoot him again in the neck after he was on the ground and took his bag,” the incident report said.
Another witness told police the men who robbed and fatally shot Peters left in a maroon, 4-door truck. He said that a third person drove the vehicle.
Peters was taken to local hospital, where he was pronounced dead. The incident report said two shell casings were found at the scene of the shooting.
Peters is from Pell City, Alabama and worked at Regional Medical Group in Decatur as a case manager, according to his Facebook page.
Peters' partner told police that an incident involving two men using the same slur against Peters had occurred one week prior. His partner said he "didn't think anything of it and never asked about it," the incident report said.
The AJC was not immediately able to contact Peters' partner.
The fatal shooting, which happened just one week into Pride Month, has garnered attention from the LGBTQ community in Atlanta.
DeKalb police are still trying to find the gunmen in the case.
“The detectives are investigating the homicide,” DeKalb County police spokesman Sgt. J.D. Spencer said. “Detectives are aware of the witness statements and are working to identify those involved in this incident.”
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Credit: HYOSUB SHIN / AJC