The Atlanta Police Department's Cold Case Unit has reopened the brutal and unsolved 2004 murder of John E. Ray. Detectives believe Ray was targeted via a gay internet "hookup" or dating website, reports the Atlanta Journal Constitution. The article suggests that Ray may have been closeted to his friends and family.
Ray’s body was found on May 19, 2004, bloodied and lying face-down on the floor of his home, his hands bound behind his back and the broken-off blade of a knife in his chest, police said. Gone were Ray’s TV, some stereo equipment and his car, [Detective David Quinn] said. "We believe that the day that he [disappeared], he was on a date in his home," Quinn said. “At some point, something happened … something huge, and John Ray is attacked violently within his home."
But the killer was calculating. "That one individual actually took a shower at John Ray’s home,” he said. "He also took the time to go into the kitchen [and] get cleaning products, and … he wiped everything down with bleach."
By chance, police happened upon Ray’s car in the early hours of the next morning, when the vehicle ran a stop sign not far from the crime scene. But the responding officer was called off the ensuing chase, just in time to see the car collide with an electricity pole and explode a transformer in his rear-view mirror, police said.
Detectives believe the killer may have targeted other victims."I think that the person that preyed on John Ray online was not gay," Quinn said. "They came here specifically to target John Ray for robbery."
The Ray case is just one of a number of unsolved murders in Atlanta's Black gay community.
Twenty-one-year-old Samuel Blizzard Jr. and 26-year-old Calvin Streater were shot execution-style over the 2010 Atlanta Black Gay Pride weekend. Police have no suspects and in April 2011 released the sketch of a person of interest.
Only a week earlier, Durand Robinson was gunned down in an apparent carjacking on August 25. Robinson was the co-owner of the popular nightclub Traxx. There are still no arrests in that murder. Police re-canvassed the crime scene in April.