A 17-year-old Texas teen has been charged with murder after allegedly luring men for Grindr hook-ups and then shooting them.
Damarion Degrate is alleged to have use the gay hook-up app to arrange three separate meetings with men in Waco, Texas, all on August 17.
Police believe that when the men arrived, Degrate shot them — wounding two of them and killing one, 23-year-old Jonathan Breeding.
After an initial arrest in August in connection with one of the non-lethal shootings, he was re-arrested on October 12 and charged with murder, Waco Police Department said.
The police force said in a statement: “During the investigation of all three shootings that happened on that night, detectives learned that the three shootings had at least one thing in common: Degrate had met the victims through a social media dating app called Grindr.
“It was through this app that Degrate communicated with the victims and made plans to meet up with them. After meeting up with the victims, Degrate shot all three of them.”
Waco police officer Garen Bynum said: “Although Degrate was previously arrested for the first of the shootings that occurred on that night, investigators were not able to definitively connect Degrate to the murder until now. Degrate has now been arrested for the second shooting that occurred that night and was arrested [on October 12] by US Marshals in Ft. Worth, TX.
“The third shooting that occurred that night is still under investigation. Degrate at this time is listed as the primary suspect for this shooting as well, but no charges have been filed at this time for that investigation.”
The force added: “We are very appreciative of the hard work done by the Waco PD Special Crimes Unit, the Waco PD Crime Scene Unit, the Waco PD Computer Forensic Unit, and the Lone Star US Marshal Task Force for their combined efforts in bringing Degrate to justice for these violent crimes that rattled the City of Waco the night of August 17, 2020.”
The police department said previously: “We continue to caution our citizens when using dating applications, in particular those that cater to the LGBT+ community. We strongly recommend arranging online dating meetings in public venues.”
It’s unclear if the case is being treated as a hate crime in the state, which rarely, if ever, deploys its weak provisions for hate crime based on sexual orientation.
Grindr has been linked to a series of horrific murders.
The incident is only the latest in a series of gruesome murder cases linked to Grindr. Last month, a man in New York City was violently hacked to death with a machete during a Grindr hook-up.
On Christmas Eve last year, 25-year-old Michigan hairstylist Kevin Bacon was killed, hacked into pieces and eaten after travelling to a Grindr hook-up — with his family only realising something was wrong when he failed to turn up on Christmas Day.
Mark Latunski was judged incompetent to stand trial over the killing on mental health grounds in March.
Meanwhile, in the UK, 18-year-old Brian Healless was sentenced to life in prison for brutally murdering another teen he had met on Grindr by stabbing him more than 100 times.