Oregon Man Charged With Using Grindr to Target Gay Man in Alleged Hate Crime

His search history — evidence of premeditation, according to an FBI affidavit — was a horror-show:

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Thanks to the screams of his alleged victim, it appears a greater horror was likely narrowly averted.

Daniel Andrew McGee, a 22 year old from Oregon, was arrested Monday and charged with a federal hate crime for a brutal alleged assault on a gay man this past July. Using the gay dating app Grindr and the screen name “str8 curious,” McGee allegedly arranged to meet a man at his apartment in Eugene. There, McGee is accused of bludgeoning the man with a wooden club known as a tire thumper, resembling a small baseball bat.

The alleged attack was interrupted by local police who were summoned by neighbors that heard the man’s cries of pain. The man survived — but suffered “life threatening” injuries, according to court documents, including head trauma that included the removal of part of the scalp “covering an area of roughly four inches by five inches on the back of his head.”

According to an affidavit submitted to U.S. district court by an FBI special agent, McGee told police that he’d had “nightmares telling him that there were demons” and that he intended to “slay” his victim and “get rid of him.” The affidavit says that McGee told police he’d struck the victim with the tire thumper and his fists. It adds: “When asked whether McGee targeted Victim 1 because Victim 1 was gay, McGee replied, ‘No, he’s a demon!’”

McGee has lived at home with his parents in neighboring Springfield, Oregon. His mother described to detectives her son’s aversion homosexuality, which he’d long deemed “gross,” according to the affidavit. She also recalled that Daniel had told her “he wanted to move to Russia because they do not allow gay people there.”

The FBI searched McGee’s digital devices. The affidavit describes how McGee had “frequented a website…  known for its ‘graphic videos’ and ‘extreme content,’ where he watched and downloaded videos of people, including specifically gay people, being harmed, beaten, or otherwise assaulted.” Titles he watched, per the affidavit, included: “Rednecks Assault Gay Couple”;  “Gay dies after brutal punch”; and “Hanging of gays in Iran.”

Yet the FBI special agent’s account also details search terms allegedly found in McGee’s brower history including “internalized homophobia”; “fag in denial”; “shock therapy homosexuality”; “causes of homosexuality”; “how i turned gay”; “are homophobic people gay”; and “how to overcome homosexuality.”

In the month before his alleged attack, McGee allegedly began searching for news articles using the term “grindr murders.” The FBI agent writes that McGee accessed articles from media outlets including Out (“Police Say Gay Men Targeted for Robbery Using Grindr”) New York Daily News (“Bronx man hacks Grindr date to death with machete: cops”) and Rolling Stone (“Grindr Murder: Could Kevin Bacon’s Death Have Been Prevented?”)

Roughly three weeks before the alleged attack, the affidavit reveals, McGee ordered, from Amazon, a wig he allegedly wore as a disguise and the tire thumper that he allegedly used in his attack. (Tire thumpers are wooden clubs used by truckers to whack their tires as a rough means to gauge air pressure.)

McGee first connected with his alleged victim on Grindr, but quickly moved their conversation to Snapchat: The FBI affidavit says investigators reviewed the messages which “included statements from McGee that he ‘just turned 18 a few months ago,’ ‘no kising [sic] just yet ok,’ and confirmation that they would be alone (‘We’re gonna be all alone right? No roommates?’).”

The FBI affidavit suggests McGee had dark designs for his alleged victim, citing a review of his digital devices that “revealed extensive search and web activity related to the execution of murders, how to get away with murders, investigative techniques that lead to solving murders, and how to dispose of dead bodies.”

In a section of the affidavit pointing to indications that “the attack was premeditated” the FBI agent describes how McGee’s alleged victim, upon returning to his apartment days after the attack, found an unfamiliar bag in his bathroom. It contained “an 8-inch Bombay kitchen knife, a folding knife, a large roll of trash bags, a bottle of Comet cleaner, [and] a brown extension cord,” among other items, according to the affidavit.

According to the Oregon U.S. Attorney’s office, McGee appeared in court on the day of his arrest and has been detained “pending further court proceedings.” A plea has not been entered. McGee’s lawyer did not immediately return a request for comment.

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