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San Francisco Shooting Mars Gay Pride Celebration

4 years ago
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(June 27) -- As revelers celebrated gay pride weekend with parades across the country, festivities in San Francisco were marred after a 19-year-old man was killed and two others were shot during a street party in the Castro district.

Police said Stephen Powell was fatally shot in the torso at 11:30 p.m. Saturday night during a personal dispute with another 19-year-old man, who was arrested as a suspect, the San Francisco Chronicle reported. A 19-year-old woman and a 29-year-old man were both shot in the leg at the "Pink Saturday" celebration and were expected to recover from their injuries.

"This was definitely not a hate crime," Officer Phil Gordon told the Chronicle. "We think [the shooter and at least one victim] knew each other."

Though temporarily disrupted by the shooting, San Francisco's celebration of its 40th Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Pride Parade and Celebration continued today with hundreds of thousands of gay pride supporters marching and cheering along Market Street. The Backstreet Boys were slated to perform and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, a city native, was scheduled to deliver a video message.

Rainbow flags flew in cities across the country this weekend, including Atlanta, Chicago and New York, where more than 350 groups and 500,000 people, including Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Gov. David Paterson, paraded down Fifth Avenue.

One group of parishioners from St. Francis Xavier who also belong to LGBT Ministries marched without its usual identifying banner at the request of New York Archbishop Timothy Dolan.

In a statement, the Rev. Joseph S. Constantino from St. Francis Xavier said the archbishop is "very grateful" to the group for its work on behalf of homosexual parishioners, but "the display of the parish banner may give the false impression that the parish is somehow serving as a sponsoring organization or officially endorsing other sentiments that may appear in the course of the March."

Constance McMillen, the 18-year-old high school senior from Mississippi whose prom was canceled after she asked officials if she could bring her girlfriend as her date, served as a grand marshal of the New York parade. Her co-marshals were Judy Shepard, the mother of 21-year-old Matthew Shepard, who was killed in a hate crime in 1998, and Lt. Dan Choi, the West Point graduate who served in Iraq but left the military over its policy toward gays.

"I am absolutely proud to violate 'don't ask, don't tell' all the way down this street today," Choi told New York's WNBC-TV.

In Chicago, a Cubs float made its first-ever debut, and the Stanley Cup won by the city's Blackhawks hockey team appeared for the first time at a gay pride event. The trophy was flown from Los Angeles back to Chicago especially for the parade, according to WLS-TV.

"We are thrilled that it worked out as it's important for the city and important for the franchise," Blackhawks spokesman Adam Rogowin told The Associated Press.
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