A gay Atlanta man was arrested Thursday and charged in the attack on a gay couple, a case that had grown cold for months until a recent round of media coverage and the offer of a $2,000 reward.
Atlanta police arrested Diego Ramirez, 23, on Thursday and charged him in the March 7 attack that was captured on video. Ramirez allegedly jumped from a car as the vehicle followed the gay couple as they walked to the intersection of Juniper and 11th streets. The suspect allegedly called a 33-year-old man "faggot" and punched him in the head repeatedly. The impact sent the man into traffic on Juniper near the patio of gay popular Joe's on Juniper.
The incident was captured on a video surveillance camera and the victim, who has asked to remain anonymous, and his boyfriend, Bryan Long – executive director of the progressive advocacy group Better Georgia – recorded the suspect after he returned to his car and before he fled.
"I'm glad that an arrest has been made," Long said. "I look forward to seeing this go to trial."
Last week, Crime Stoppers Greater Atlanta offered a $2,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and indictment of the man who launched the assault. The reward came after media coverage about the case, which had gone unsolved for nearly 10 months despite witnesses and video.
Ramirez (photo) was booked into the Fulton County Jail about 2 p.m. on Thursday and charged with battery with substantial physical harm. In 2013, he was charged with battery after a domestic violence arrest.
Ramirez's Facebook page shows that the California native is friends with scores of gay Atlantans and graduated from Druid Hills High School in 2010. He later attended Georgia Perimeter College. His profile says he's "interested in men and women" but a source told Project Q Atlanta that Ramirez is gay and romantically linked to the man who drove the BMW involved in the March 7 attack. Atlanta police told the GA Voice last month that the driver said he didn't know the passenger.