A brutal attack on Saturday near East Atlanta Village left one man shot and killed and his gay roommate shot in the leg. A vigil and anti-crime rally is planned for Friday.
The slaying of Patrick Cotrona, 33, may be related to several other recent violent crimes and tied to gang activity. Cotrona (photo), his roommate Marcus Peden and a third, unidentified man were attacked as they walked from an East Atlanta bar a few blocks from their home. Cotrona was shot once in the abdomen while Peden was shot in the leg after he pepper-sprayed their two assailants. The third man escaped unharmed.
Media reports have stated that Cotrona and Peden are roommates. Peden's Facebook profile shows that he's gay and in a relationship. Cotrona's Facebook profile indicates that he's single but does not say whether he's gay. Friends of Peden's have said in Facebook posts that the two men are boyfriends.
Cotrona's sister, Kate Krumm, declined comment about Cotrona's sexual orientation. But she stressed that it was not a factor in the shooting and asked for privacy as the family makes plans for a funeral service on Thursday.
"Patrick's sexuality had nothing to do with this crime. He and his friends were in the wrong place at the wrong time," Krumm said in a Facebook message to Project Q. "With the other crimes that are popping up and the similar M.O.s, it appears that they were arbitrary targets. I do not want his sexuality to be a distraction to the message here, which is about crime in our city and an innocent man. I know you have an interest in pursuing stories that are gay-related, but Patrick had always been a fiercely private person, and I ask that you to please respect the privacy of all involved."
Peden could not be reached for comment on Wednesday.
An Atlanta police spokesperson said there is no indication that the men were targeted for their sexual orientation.
"There is no indication that anyone was targeted for their sexual orientation," Sgt. Gregory Lyon said. "None of the victims indicated they were assaulted because of their sexual orientation and they never shared with officers whether they were gay or not."
Clay McClure, who is gay and roomed with Cotrona while studying at Georgia Tech, told WSB he's still trying to make sense of what happened.
"The community has lost its innocence. He was innocent," McClure said. "Try to make sense of it but I think it’s just a senseless crime. It’s a real loss."
Krumm penned a touching memorial to her brother that was published in East Atlanta Patch, calling Cotrona "gifted and intelligent."
Patrick Cotrona wasn’t a man looking for trouble; he wasn’t a statistic. He was a gifted, intelligent, Georgia Tech graduate computer programmer who went out for a beer. And he died for nothing – the killer never even took his wallet. And to be honest, what had he expected? A few hundred dollars? Is that what my brother’s life was worth?
A vigil is set for Friday in East Atlanta where the shooting took place. The Vigil and Rally Against Crime is planned to remember the victim's from Saturday's attack and call attention to "a recent uptick in crime."
As many of you already know, East Atlanta Village suffered the loss of a resident due to a violent armed robbery. We have also seen a recent uptick in crime. We plan to meet and have a vigil in memory of the lives lost due to violent crime in our neighborhood but also to rally against crime.
We ask that you all make an effort to come out and support the family and friends of Patrick Cotrona in a showing of solidarity from East Atlanta Village.