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Oklahoma man suffers burns after vandals scrawl gay slur, set car on fire

By Robin Dorner| The Gayly
Wednesday, July 25, 2012

EDMOND, Okla. — An Oklahoma gay man says he awoke in the early morning hours on July 21 to the noise two men dressed in black and wearing face masks vandalizing his car — he said one of the suspects threw something in his vehicle that caused an explosion and fire, while the man other fled.

Edmond, Okla. resident Jon Ferguson said that the vandals had broken out the window of his car before igniting the vehicle on fire.

Martin Hernandez

One of the victims roommates snapped the photo of the car in flames while waiting on emergency crews.

“The car just blew up, then he [the other masked man] took off too. In the instant I smelled gas, but I didn’t know if it was the flames that hit me or what it was,” he said.

“Right when that happened, the flames hit me; I ripped my shirt off, ran in my house and jumped in the shower.”

Ferguson said he then called 911.

Ferguson described that when the car suddenly burst into flames and the car alarm went off, the loud noise caused his roommates to come running to help. One tried to douse the fire with a hose, he said, because the gas meter was just 10 feet from the car.

Ferguson was taken to the emergency room to be treated for his injuries, and said it was only then that he found out that the vandals had scrawled the word “fag” across the trunk of his car.

Robin Dorner

Jon Ferguson looks over the damage to his burned car.

“One fire inspector asked me if there was any graffiti on my car [before the incident]. One Fire Inspector told me then the word fag had been written on the back of it.”

Ferguson said he just lost it at that point, and that he knew he had been targeted due to his sexual orientation.

“Nobody has a right to judge me. Nobody is justified to judge somebody for who they lay in bed with. It’s almost not worth being proud of who you are and trying to show you’re gay because stuff like this really does happen.

I’ve always seen it on the news that kids are dying and stuff because they’re being bullied and you understand why kids don’t come out of the closet.”

Ferguson said he has been “out” for six years and said that night, for the first time, he felt like he needed to hide. He went from the hospital to his parents’ house in the country to stay the night just to feel “safe.”

“I wasn’t flaunting it or anything. I’m trying to be me, but it’s almost not worth it. It’s like I need to fake being happy with a female just to where the world accepts me and I don’t want to do that.”

Ferguson suffered first and second degree burns on 36 percent of his body, mostly on his face, some on his arms and chest. The fire also singed his shirt onto his chest.

The Oklahoma City fire department is investigating the fire and are classifying the incident as an act of arson. Chief Homer Jones told KWTV in Oklahoma City that investigators plan to interview Ferguson to obtain additional information and details, but right now there are no suspects.

Jones said if the incident is determined to be a hate crime, the Oklahoma City fire and police Departments would continue to conduct the investigation.

“When anyone is victimized in this way, it is a tragedy. When it is compounded by hate based only on sexual orientation, it victimizes an entire community,” said Scott Hamilton, Executive Director of the Cimarron Alliance, and Oklahoma LGBT advocacy organization.

“This horrific incident is a sad and vivid reminder that Oklahoma City’s LGBT community is still not fully accepted,” Hamilton said, in a statement to The Gayly.

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21 more reader comments:

  1. When they catch the morons who did this. They need to force them to buy they guy a new car, pay for any treatment he received for the burns, then they can sit their asses in jail for the rest of their pathetic lives.

    Posted on Wednesday, July 25, 2012 at 8:08pm
  2. geeze, wtf

    Posted on Wednesday, July 25, 2012 at 8:08pm
  3. The people who did this are cowards. I hope that this is taken seriously and the suspects are apprehended!!! We all have the right to feel safe and be who we are!!! This behavior is sickening and frightening!!!

    Posted on Wednesday, July 25, 2012 at 8:09pm
  4. you know with all the crap going on in the world u would think that these bigots would find something to occupy themselves

    Posted on Wednesday, July 25, 2012 at 8:11pm
  5. show this to anyone who thinks we don’t need hate crime legislation or equal rights for the gay community; without them people will continue to think of us as less then human

    Posted on Wednesday, July 25, 2012 at 8:12pm
  6. this is so sickening…. and the only thing i can say to that… is people fear what they dont understand and hate what they cant conquer… Those bastards that did this need to be burned themselves

    Posted on Wednesday, July 25, 2012 at 8:13pm
  7. I don’t get it… We should be progressing as a country and yet we keep going backwards. I hope this poor guy is okay, and I hope whoever did this gets their ass lit on fire to see how it feels.

    Posted on Wednesday, July 25, 2012 at 8:14pm
  8. This hit’s way to close to home…Unfortunately, Living in Oklahoma city myself I know that this will more then likely be yet another incident swept under the rug in Bible belt America.

    Posted on Wednesday, July 25, 2012 at 8:15pm
  9. how wrong

    Posted on Wednesday, July 25, 2012 at 8:15pm
  10. A very rude wake up call! Just when we think we’re advancing, incidents like this pop up, it’s time our government really stepped up and fixed this once and for ALL!

    Posted on Wednesday, July 25, 2012 at 8:16pm
  11. i say they give us the equality we seek

    Posted on Wednesday, July 25, 2012 at 8:17pm
  12. how sad.

    Posted on Wednesday, July 25, 2012 at 8:18pm
  13. Sounds like Oklahoma. I’m not very proud to be from there in times like this.

    Posted on Wednesday, July 25, 2012 at 8:31pm
  14. :’( so sad….Karma she is a BITCH

    Posted on Wednesday, July 25, 2012 at 8:35pm
  15. so sad.

    Posted on Wednesday, July 25, 2012 at 8:35pm
  16. there just gay guyz that cant admit it and lash out on true glbtq

    Posted on Wednesday, July 25, 2012 at 8:50pm
  17. Lesbian in Nebraska gets body carved with “DYKE”, “CUNT”, “FAG” on her body (but it’s not a hate crime) now this…All suspects masked….I mean show your face you cowardly, bastards…you’re so proud of your pathetic-ness, show yourself!!! When is the protection going to start…eye for eye is what I say…seriously I just can’t take reading this backward shit!! Wth is wrong with these demonic freaks. Just breaks me down to read this stuff::((( like I would pay top dollar to be in the same room with these piles of shit!!! Just 3 minutes…and a nice metal anything!!! I know violence is not the answer for some…but it is to me…I would find great pleasure in doing back what they all deserve!!!!!! Just sayin!!! Amen!

    Posted on Wednesday, July 25, 2012 at 8:54pm
  18. wtf is this the 50′s and 60′s again

    Posted on Wednesday, July 25, 2012 at 9:29pm
  19. when is the church burning ?

    Posted on Wednesday, July 25, 2012 at 10:17pm
  20. You’re in OKLAHOMA!

    Posted on Thursday, July 26, 2012 at 12:07am
  21. Hopefully, he’ is okay.

    Posted on Thursday, July 26, 2012 at 4:09am