Listen to this article here
Thirty-four year old Tavis Dunbar – the person that fatally and seemingly intentionally mowed down four gay men outside of a nightclub in Chicago – turned himself in to police earlier this week.
In the early morning hours of August 14th, a graphic video captured by a spectator showed four men that appeared to be in an altercation in the street outside of the country’s oldest, Black-owned gay club, the Jeffery Pub. Seconds into the video, a silver sedan is seen speeding down Jeffery, plowing into the group of men and continues driving south.
One witness said, “I was standing outside the bar talking to one of the victims. I took like three steps, and a car came and hit him and he flew over the car.”
There were gym shoes scattered along the street and sidewalk and the spectator’s video shows one of the victims doing multiple flips into the air upon collision, displaying how violent the impact was. The victims were 27-year-old Devonta Vivetter, 25-year-old Donald Huey, and 23-year-old Jaylen Ausley.
Community remembers victims of deadly hit-and-run outside gay bar in Chicago
Devonta Vivetter was described as a party-loving, always-dancing socialite who could be seen in Chicago’s clubs and bars just about every week. He was alternately a jokester who “played too much” and someone “who did not play” about the safety of those he cared for, his loved ones said.
Donald Huey had recently moved to California to start a new life and returned to Chicago to visit family and celebrate his grandmother’s birthday. Family members said, “Chicago is not where he wanted to be at all. He was done with Chicago.”
Third victim, Jaylen Ausley, had just graduated from the University of Michigan and wanted to attend an Ivy League grad school. He served as a mentor at Gary Comer Youth Center, an educational community center for Black city kids.
And Carlee J. McKinney – the fourth victim and survivor of the horrific incident – told reporters he doesn’t remember the impact. “By the time we got halfway in the street, this car came from the street and I seen it through the periphery, seen the bright light,” McKinney said. “That’s what made me jump back. Next thing I know I was hit and woke up in the ambulance.”
Suspect’s motive unclear in attack on gay men
Detectives believe an argument began inside of the popular gay club, spilled out into the street and became physical. It’s unclear as to whether Dunbar was involved in the altercation, but a witness at the scene reported hearing the suspect tell the victims, “I got something for you, you mother*******, “ and walked northbound to where his car was parked.
Chicago police found the vehicle abandoned blocks away from the crime scene hours after the hit-and-run. Advocacy organizations wanted the matter investigated as a hate crime.
A candlelight vigil for the victims, hosted by the Chicago Black Gay Men’s Caucus, called for healing, peace and justice. Attendee, Dawn Valenti, said, “As we stand here, still fighting for our rights to be who we are and love who we are…that’s the only thing that makes us different from anybody else’s. We choose to love somebody that looks like us. So I just ask you all to please stand together.”
Dunbar has been charged with three counts of first degree murder and one count of attempted first degree murder. He’s being held without bail.