Vandals threatened a gay man in Carroll County on Saturday by throwing a rock wrapped with anti-gay slurs through a window and then, hours later, apparently setting his home on fire.
Chris Staples, 43, woke up about 6 a.m. on Sunday with flames filling his bedroom in his home, a converted pool house off a quiet area of Highway 27 near Walker Lake in the county west of Atlanta. He escaped without serious injury, according to media reports.
“I was watching TV and just finished smoking a cigarette and I heard this big thud. Boom!” Staples told Channel 2’s George Howell.
The rock had a threatening note attached.
“It said, ‘we know you’re gay. And God hates gays. You won’t be raping anybody in the county and God’s going to make sure that you burn in hell.’ And something about my daddy… my daddy will make sure you burn in hell.”
Wanda Morris, Staples’ mother, told the Times-Georgian that her son is disabled and has lived there for years as openly gay man without incident.
“We have lived here for 31 years and have never had any trouble,” Morris said. “I mean, everyone knows him and he doesn’t bother a soul. I just don’t understand. He’s a good person and everyone who knows him calls him ‘Brother.’
“He’s disabled and has been very sick. He hardly every leaves the house so I just don’t understand this kind of hate towards someone they obviously don’t even know. But the note read like someone just found out that Chris was gay and was the most hateful, sickening thing I have ever read. If the words weren’t enough – this? He could have been killed.”
The Carroll County Fire Department is investigating the incident as possible arson. The Carroll County Sheriff’s Office says the case could result in attempted murder charges.
“Right now we are focused on the who and then we’ll find out the why as we move forward with this investigation,” Taylor said. “Let’s just say it was a threatening message and leave it at that for now. This is an active investigation and I can’t say much more than that. Finding out who is responsible for this is our top priority.”
Photo courtesy WSB