Sunday’s shooting of Clinton “Billy” Lewis, a gay man, wasn’t motivated by hate, police in Elmira, New York say, the Elmira Star-Gazette reported.
Twenty-year-old Louis M. Duffy of Horseheads, a town that borders Elmira, was arrested on Sunday in connection with Lewis’ early Sunday morning death. Police say Duffy has confessed to shooting Lewis in the head inside Lewis’ apartment, which is located across the street from Club Chill, a gay bar and club he owned and operated. Duffy has been arraigned on a charge of second-degree murder and is expected to return to court on Tuesday morning.
Mourners created an impromptu memorial out of flowers, balloons and candles outside the bar. While not divulging the motivation behind the killing, police insisted Lewis, 53, was not killed because he was gay.
“I really can’t disclose the actual motive, but I will say it was a personal issue,” said Captain Joseph Kain of the Elmira Police Department. “The victim was not killed as a direct result of being gay, it does not appear to be a hate crime.”
Investigators said there was no evidence of a break-in and that the two men were acquaintances. Police responded to a 4AM report of a gunshot victim called in by Lewis’ roommate. Lewis, who helped organize local gay pride events in the past, was pronounced dead at the Arnot Ogden Medical Center a short time later.