Police determine shooting during Atlanta Black Pride Weekend was not hate-related

Antonio Lonnell Starks (left) is accused of shooting and injuring Ira Moorer (right).
Antonio Lonnell Starks (left) is accused of shooting and injuring Ira Moorer (right).

Credit: Fulton County Sheriff's Office / GoFundMe

Credit: Fulton County Sheriff's Office / GoFundMe

Three months after a man was shot in the back during Atlanta Black Pride Weekend, police have concluded that the shooter was not motivated by hate.

Antonio Lonnell Starks, 26, of Atlanta, was arrested in connection with the Sept. 3 shooting of 27-year-old Ira Moorer, Atlanta police said. Moorer was shot about 5 a.m. on Donald Lee Hollowell Parkway after an argument inside the 1050 Social Club, where Starks worked as a security guard.

Shortly after the shooting, a GoFundMe page for Moorer alleged that his attacker beat, kicked and called him homophobic slurs before the shooting. Atlanta police public affairs director Carlos Campos said his department "brought in our Homeland Security team and LGBT liaisons to look into the bias crime allegations," AJC.com previously reported.

RELATED: Cops investigate possible hate-motivated shooting during Atlanta Black Pride

Ira Moorer
Ira Moorer

Credit: GoFundMe

Credit: GoFundMe

However, Campos said Monday that “our investigators consulted with the FBI and our LGBT liaison and determined this case did not meet the criteria to be classified as a bias crime.”

Instead, investigators believe the shooting was the result of a fight that started in the club and spilled onto the street.

Starks will face three state felonies, but will avoid federal hate crime charges. Georgia is one of five states that does not have a hate crime statute creating tougher penalties for people who commit crimes based on sexual orientation, race, religion or disability.

The shooting shut down Hollowell Parkway for about two hours while investigators were at the scene. Four 9 mm shell casings were found by police.

Officers search for evidence after two groups started shooting in the middle of Donald Lee Hollowell Parkway on Sept. 3.
Officers search for evidence after two groups started shooting in the middle of Donald Lee Hollowell Parkway on Sept. 3.

Credit: JOHN SPINK / JSPINK@AJC.COM

Credit: JOHN SPINK / JSPINK@AJC.COM

Several people who refused to come out of the club were detained before being released, police said. In their report, police identified Moorer as Ira Johnson.

Atlanta police Capt. William Ricker previously said a fight between two groups led to the shooting and "security was involved as well." The security guard was not at the scene when police arrived, Ricker said.

Starks was arrested Oct. 25 on counts of aggravated assault, aggravated battery and possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony, Fulton County Jail records show. He was released Nov. 15 on a $50,000 bond and has pleaded not guilty to all counts.

Court records show that the incident “rendered (Moorer’s) lungs useless” after the shooting, leading him to be hospitalized at Grady Memorial Hospital for weeks. Posts on his public Facebook page indicate he’s able to walk now and has been released from the hospital.

As of Monday, Starks does not have a set trial date.

In other news:

No arrests have been made since someone shot and killed Shantrelle Monroe.