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Detroit — A Detroit man has been charged in the weekend killing and assault of two men, motivated by the fact the men were gay, officials said.

Demetris Nelson, 26, was charged Friday in 36th District Court in Detroit with several crimes, including first-degree murder, assault with intent to murder and assault with intent to rob while armed and felony firearm possession, according to the Wayne County Prosecutor's Office.

If convicted, he faces up to life in prison for the murder charge.

A magistrate ordered him held without bail and scheduled a probable cause hearing for July 26 and a preliminary examination into the case for Aug. 2. 

Police say Nelson shot and killed Brian Anderson, 31, and shot and critically wounded Malcom Drake, 26, both of Detroit, last Saturday during an attempted robbery.

Prosecutors allege he shot them because they are gay and used a social networking app to locate the two victims.

“The allegations are that social media contacts were used to target, contact, rob, fatally shoot one gay man, and seriously wound another gay man," Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy said in a statement. "To some this will be just another hateful and violent act in America. They will read about this case and continue to go about their day. To me, that is quite tragic.”

She said her office was aided in the investigation of the case by the Fair Michigan Justice Project, a program that helps Michigan law enforcement officers and prosecutors solve serious crimes against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

“We are saddened and outraged by this despicable crime," Alanna Maguire, president of Fair Michigan, said in a statement. "This case is just the most recent example of how members of Detroit’s LGBTQ community are too often targets of violence."

cramirez@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @CharlesERamirez

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