Teen Charged with Murder of Homeless Person in Columbus

On September 22, a 19 year old, Carl Quiller was charged with shooting and killing one homeless person and suspected of shooting two others.  Thomas Henson, 63, was sleeping in the bed of his pickup truck in a shopping center parking lot, and was fatally shot in the head .  Investigators believe that the shooting of two homeless individuals on Thursday late in the evening of September 18 in a field were done by the same individual. 

Quiller had made the 9-1-1 call seeking help for Henson early Saturday morning.  After searching his house, they found the weapon underneath his mattress.  Quiller told police that he hid the gun, but someone else did the shooting.  The suspect is being held on $3 million bond. The other two homeless individuals were shot in the middle of the night, and are recovering in the hospital. 

In 2013, State Representative from Lakewood, Nicki Antonio introduced a hate crimes bill to protect lesbian, gay and transgender individuals after an attack that took place outside a bar in Cleveland in which the attackers were using gay-slurs.   We will ask Rep. Antonio to add homeless people to her bill after this attack in Columbus.  It is obvious that a predator was out looking for homeless people for two nights in a row looking to hurt and kill people who are living outside without the security of a front door. 

Brian Davis

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National Coalition Releases Hate Crimes Report

New Hate Crimes report released

Senseless Violence: A Survey of Hate Crimes and Violence against the Homeless in 2012 documents the known cases of violence against homeless individuals in 2012. The report includes descriptions of the cases as well as recommendations to help prevent violence against homeless individuals.

The National Coalition for the Homeless has been tracking hate crimes against homeless individuals since 1999. This year’s report only shows a slight improvement in the number of lethal attacks. In 2012 alone, of the 88 attacks, 18 resulted in deaths. A majority of the perpetrators this past year were young men under 30, and the victims were primarily males over the age of 40.

Some of the most horrific cases include a serial killer targeting the homeless population of southern California because he viewed it as a public service, teens killing a homeless man over one dollar, and a homeless woman set on fire who suffered second and third-degree burns over 20% of her body.

“This violence is prompted by a profound lack of empathy for fellow human beings, the same moral failure that allows our society to tolerate the larger tragedy of homelessness,” said Jerry Jones, Executive Director of the National Coalition for the Homeless. “Homeless people deserve our help and protection. These attacks are a shocking failure in our society’s obligations toward the most vulnerable among us.”

In many cases, homeless persons are targeted for these attacks simply because they are without housing. The National Coalition for the Homeless advocates for the inclusion of homelessness as a protected class in state and federal hate crimes legislation.

Read the full report.

From National Coalition for the Homeless Media Release

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NCH Announces 2012 Hate Crimes Report

2011 was one of the most dangerous years for homeless people in the United States according to the National Coalition for the Homeless. The National Homeless Hate Crimes report was issued this last week. 

  • 1,289 reported acts of bias motivated violence have been committed against homeless
    individuals between 1999-2011.
  • 339 homeless individuals lost their lives as a result of the attacks.
  • Reported violence has occurred in 47 states, Puerto Rico, and Washington, DC

The violence continues, and with thirty-two known deaths, 2011 ranks in the top-five deadliest years for attacks on homeless people over the past thirteen years, and with one hundred and five attacks, ranks as the sixth most violent year since NCH began tracking the violence in 1999. NCH has found startling data in the number and severity of attacks. However, the reports also acknowledge that since the homeless community is treated so poorly in our society, many more attacks go unreported. Hate crimes against the homeless community is a growing wave in need of public attention.

Ohio was again identified as the third most violent state in the United States behind California and Washington state.  One bright spot was that after many years of leading the national Florida has fallen out of the top five.  There were 32 attacks that led to the death of a homeless person.  Ohio was listed as the fourth most dangerous state over the last dozen years. Fortunately, none of the deaths in 2011 occurred in Ohio.  

The non-lethal attacks in Ohio occured in Enid, Elyria, Columbus, Toledo and two incidents in Cleveland Ohio.   One incident in January 2011 was a library guard attacking a homeless person, and then an incident in July was referenced in which two young people attacked a homeless guy with a shopping cart on Public Square.   The complete report can be found here

There is a renewed effort to get a bill passed in Congress to ask the Justice Department to begin to keep track of these hate crimes and report on those to Congress.  Unfortunately, at this point law enforcement does not report these crimes as a hate crime to the FBI.  Even though the number of hate crimes outpace every other population protected by federal hate crimes, it is not recognized by the US government.   These are terrible crimes in which vulnerable innocent people are attacked just because they are outside and a symbol of our inability in the United States to provide an adequate safety net.  It is a real sign of the violent times we currently live. 

Brian Davis

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