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LGBTQ Nation: Queer woman killed at gas station as alleged assailant yells slurs


A Texas woman was shot and killed at a gas station over the weekend, and her dad says it was a hate crime.

“She gets out of the car, and he starts calling her gay slurs for no reason,” said Anthony Hill, the victim’s father. “She didn’t know him.”

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“It was a hate crime.”

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According to police, Hill’s daughter, 24-year-old Akira Ross, was shot three times at the Cedar Park gas station near Austin on Friday night and declared dead at the scene.

Police arrested Bradley Stanford, 23, on Sunday. He’s been charged with first-degree murder.

Ross’s girlfriend, who gave her name only as Tanya, told the Austin American-Statesman that she, Ross, and a friend arrived at the Circle K gas station around 9:45 p.m. Friday night after working out at a local gym.

According to Tanya, Stanford started yelling anti-gay slurs as she and Ross got out of the vehicle to go inside the Circle K store.

While she was inside, Tanya says their friend in the car texted that Stanford was now waving a gun. Tanya says she asked the store clerk to call 911, and she did the same, stepping outside to check the gas station’s address.

That’s when she says Ross walked out of the store and started pumping gas. As Tanya watched, Stanford walked up to Ross and asked to shake her hand.

Tanya said she started recording the interaction.

“I was recording everything I saw before my own eyes and then I heard gunshots,” said Tanya. She started “running and screaming” toward Ross.

“We didn’t expect him to do what he did.”

Police said they received a call about the shooting at 9:50 p.m. and arrived to find Ross dead.

Tanya said she gave her phone to officers at the scene.

Stanford was arrested on Sunday in Ingleside, near Corpus Christi, after detectives got a tip he’d left town.

A police spokesperson wouldn’t confirm they had a recording of the incident.

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

He said his daughter was a full-time caretaker for her grandmother, after Ross’s mom died in a car collision two years ago.

“Losing a daughter is like swallowing a razor blade,” he said. “Nobody wants to deal with that kind of pain.”

GoFundMe account was started in the family’s name to help pay for funeral expenses.

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