Suspect sought in wounding of cross-dresser Victim, 32, says 10 people confronted, taunted him before he was shot 6 times

November 08, 1998|By Dennis O'Brien and TaNoah Morgan | Dennis O'Brien and TaNoah Morgan,SUN STAFF

A day after 300 people rallied in an East Baltimore neighborhood in support of a cross-dressing man who was shot six times allegedly because of his lifestyle, police were searching yesterday for the North Baltimore man charged in the attack.

Paul Bishop, 20, of the 1000 block of N. Castle St. was charged Thursday in a warrant with attempted first-degree murder, police said.

Leonard Vines, 32, of East Baltimore survived the Oct. 28 shooting but spent a week recovering in the hospital. He was the focus of a rally Friday that included friends, relatives, supporters from a local church and members of the Free State Justice Campaign, a gay lobbying group based in Takoma Park.

"It was very nice," Vines said. "It made me feel wonderful."

Vines, who said he has dressed in women's clothes for about 10 years, said he was walking toward his cousin's house shortly after 10 p.m. in the 200 block of Madeira St. when he was confronted by 10 people, one of whom said, "We don't allow no drag queens coming around here."

Vines said he tried to run but was tripped by someone who carried a cane and was shot on the steps of his cousin's home.

"I heard someone say, 'Mike, shoot the bitch,' and the next thing I knew, I was shot in the chest, and I went into shock," said Vines, a housekeeper who grew up in the East Baltimore neighborhood where the shooting occurred.

Police Detective Jerry K. Weaver said Vines was treated at nearby John Hopkins Hospital for gunshot wounds to the arm, chest, shoulder and back.

Weaver said the suspected motive for the attack was the victim's lifestyle.

Beverly Vines, the victim's aunt, organized Friday's rally at the scene of the shooting to help promote opposition to such attacks. She said the incident reminded her of the attack last month on Matthew Shepard, a gay University of Wyoming student who was beaten to death near Laramie, Wyo.

Two men have been charged with murder in the Oct. 7 attack on Shepard. Robbery was the primary motive, but Shepard also was singled out because he was gay, police said.

Beverly Vines said of her nephew: "He should not be attacked because of his preferences or his lifestyle. It's the same as if I was walking through the alley and they attacked me because I was fat."

Gloria Guthrie, Leonard Vines' mother, echoed the sentiment.

"After I went to the hospital and saw him with tubes in him just because he's gay, it hurt me," said Guthrie. "Regardless of what he is, I don't want nobody hurting my child just because they don't love him. Somebody loves him."

Pub Date: 11/08/98

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