A Kansas City, Missouri man pleaded guilty to federal hate crimes charges after shooting and nearly killing a teenage boy because of his sexual orientation.
Malachi Robinson, 26, admitted this week to shooting the teen, identified only as M.S., eight times after the teen made sexual advances toward him.
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According to the plea, Robinson encountered M.S. at the Kansas City Public Library on May 29, 2019. M.S. approached him and asked to connect via Facebook. The two then began a conversation over Facebook Messenger in which M.S. asked about Robinson’s sexual orientation and suggested the meet in the library’s bathroom to engage in a sexual act.
Robinson told M.S. that he was not gay but agreed to meet outside the library to engage in oral sex in exchange for $5.
At the same time, Robinson was emailing his then-girlfriend about the interaction, sending screenshots of his chat with M.S. and M.S.’s Facebook profile.
“He tryna set me up on sumn now, gonna unfriend him,” Robinson wrote to his girlfriend. “Might shoot this boy if he try some gay shit.”
Robinson then followed M.S. to a wooded area nearby, but according to the plea, M.S. turned to leave before any sex act occurred or any money was exchanged. That’s when Robinson pulled out his gun and shot M.S. approximately eight times, hitting him three times in the chest, three times in his right arm, once in his left buttocks, and once in his right hand, almost detaching his finger.
Robinson later admitted to his girlfriend and cousins that he had shot M.S. because he had tried that “gay ass s**t.”
In a June 2, 2019 Facebook message, he wrote, “I shot a ni**a. He was being gay af and following me like a mf.” He shaved his distinctive afro, discussed getting rid of the gun used in the shooting, and conducted Google searches for news reports about the crime. He also Googled things like “How to know if the police are looking for you,” “When will police arrest you after a murder,” and “How to get away with murder in real life,” before he was arrested on June 3, 2019.
He was indicted on federal hate crimes charges in August 2021.
As a result of his injuries, M.S. was hospitalized for two weeks and continues to receive treatment.
“This attempted murder is a reminder that hate crimes against the LGBTQI+ community are real and must be confronted,” Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division said in a July 7 statement. “Violent acts targeting people based on their sexual orientation are heinous crimes that have no place in our country.”
“Violence against others, motivated by hatred of their sexual orientation, is unacceptable,” U.S. Attorney Teresa Moore of the Western District of Missouri said in the same release. “Such callous disregard for the life of a teenage victim, gravely wounded in a failed murder attempt, must be challenged by a commitment to protect the civil rights of all our citizens. When those rights are threatened, the Justice Department will act to hold the violators accountable.”
The age of the victim is not mentioned in court documents.