[Updated] New Year’s Eve stabbing provoked by anti-gay slur?

“We have received information that the incident was possibly preceded by a gay slur directed towards the arrestee,” Campos said. “We are not sure if the information is credible, but are investigating the incident and will pursue this and any other leads. It should be noted, however, that officers arrested a man identified as stabbing five people. It will be up to the judicial system to determine if there were any mitigating factors prior to the stabbings. Zone 6 investigators are in the preliminary stages of investigation, and our LGBT liaisons have also been alerted to the incident. Anyone with information that might be helpful is encouraged to call Zone 6 investigators at (404) 373-5331/5332.”

O’Donovan is currently in custody at the Fulton County Jail and is facing five charges of aggravated assault.

UPDATE: A press release issued by “Luke’s support staff” that is currently remaining anonymous was issued to the GA Voice today. In the release, O’Donovan’s supporters state he was allegedly attacked by a mob after he was seen dancing and kissing other men and that O’Donovan was acting in self defense when others were stabbed.

UPDATE 2: A friend of O’Donovan’s, who only identified himself as Richard, said he saw the incident and that O’Donovan was attacked by “four or five” other people.

“They were stomping, pushing him. In the middle of the intersection,” Richard said. “They were going crazy towards him.”

Richard said O’Donovan is not gay, but is open to all people. O’Donovan was at the party with his girlfriend, he added. Richard, who said he’s known O’Donovan for two or three years, described O’Donovan as a “really sensitive, nice guy.”

According to Richard, things got started at a bonfire in the backyard when another man came up to O’Donovan and called him “faggot.”

O’Donovan told the guy not to use that language, Richard said.

“Luke said don’t do that … and it seemed like an understanding was reached,” Richard said. “After that, things got a little bit better. He never got kicked out of the party. Everyone was having a good time. He [Luke] was being very jolly.”

When the party started winding down, Richard said he saw the group of people attacking O’Donovan and chasing him down a hill.

“[Luke] just tried to leave,” Richard said. “They were chasing him down the hill. It was like they were trying to kill him. It seemed like it was planned and calculated.”

A Facebook page has been set up in support of O’Donovan. The full press release from O’Donovan’s supporters:

It has been reported in the press that Luke O’Donovan, 19, went on a “stabbing rampage” at a New Year’s Eve party in Reynoldstown, a neighborhood in Atlanta, GA. This is not accurate. The events that occurred were the result of Luke O’Donovan desperately defending himself against a clear act of queer-bashing that included Luke being stabbed in the back.

Some facts of the situation remain unclear, but the events that have been reported thus far are inaccurate. Narratives have described Luke O’Donovan, 19, as having returned to a house party that he had been kicked out of. The reports state that Luke returned with a knife and stabbed one person, and then 4 others who attempted to subdue Luke.

As multiple witnesses have testified and will testify, Luke was never
kicked out of the party and did not leave. He remained at the house where the party was occurring up until the incident. This basic fact, and the fact that it has been misrepresented, changes the story as it has been reported thus far. Luke is being portrayed as having gone on a nearly unfounded “stabbing rampage” comparable to recent mass killings. This is false. Luke did not go to the party intending to initiate conflict with anyone. Just fifteen minutes before the fight, Luke was present in the living room of the house, having a pleasant and friendly conversation with other people at the party.

Although the exact sequence of events is unknown at this point, it is
clear that Luke was attacked by several people at one time and retaliated in self-defense in an attempt to escape the attack. Several witnesses have reported watching between 5 and 12 men mobbing up on Luke and stomping on his head and body with the intent to kill him. The people who were stabbed during the conflict were not attempting to end the fight with Luke. The altercation was never limited to Luke and one other person, but involved several people mobbing up on him.

The motivations of the attack on Luke seem to originate in the fact that he had been seen dancing with and kissing other men earlier at the party. Luke was repeatedly insulted with homophobic slurs throughout the night. The men who attacked Luke are known to have exhibited homophobic language and behavior in the past. Luke was called a faggot during the fight. This provides clear evidence that the attack on Luke was in some way motivated by homophobia and perpetrated by multiple men while Luke was alone.

Luke is currently the only person involved in the fight who is in jail. We do not support the prison industrial complex, talking to the police, or snitching. We do not believe that the other side of the fight should be imprisoned, but rather that the incident should be resolved outside of the institutions of the State.