Ashanti Watson and boyfriend allegedly shot at while walking in North Mpls because they're gay

Watson and his boyfriend were walking and holding hands when shots rang out.
Watson and his boyfriend were walking and holding hands when shots rang out.

Just after 11:30 in the morning on July 10, Ashanti Watson, 20, and his boyfriend, 22, were walking down the street near 36th Avenue North and Girard Avenue when a group of strangers started harassing them.

"They didn't like how we were walking and said some smart remarks," Ashanti told City Pages, adding that he was holding his boyfriend's hand at the time. "They called us fags, told us to 'get the fuck out of here.' Then, unfortunately, the situation escalated in a terrifying way -- one of the men pulled out a gun and opened fire at the couple.

Thankfully, Watson and his boyfriend were able to escape unharmed. They called the MPD. A police report characterizes the incident as a "Bias Crime." The gunman and three accomplices fled the scene in a dark green Yukon. No arrests have been made.

Watson described the gunman and his accomplices as black males, probably in their late 20s. The gunman was wearing a peach-colored button-up shirt with white shorts. Two of the men shouted gay slurs at the couple, while one of the four actually told his buddies to "shut up" and "stop it" in the moments before shots were fired, Watson said.

Asked if he thought the gunman was trying to kill him and his boyfriend, Watson said, "I don't know to be honest, but I believe that he could've if he really wanted to shoot us," adding that he and his boyfriend were walking away from the suspects with their backs turned when shots rang out.

Watson lives on the North Side. He said being targeted for violence because of his sexual orientation has "never happened to me before."

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