Family of gay man says his death was a hate crime

- The family of a 25-year-old man whose body was found in a Seminole Heights alley believes he was killed because he was gay, his sister said Friday.

Dontae Lampkins' sister, Devada Carlton, said he disappeared some time after speaking to his mother Tuesday night.

"I kept telling my mom something's not right. He should have been back by now," Carlton said.

On Thursday afternoon, someone found Lampkins body in an alley in betwee East Comanche and East Mohawk Avenues. Investigators have only said he suffered "upper body trauma," but are not elaborating.

Carlton believes her brother was killed because of who he was: a proud, gay man.

"He was him. He was himself," she said. "He was outspoken. His sexuality meant everything to him. It's either 'be who you are or don't be no one at all.'"

Tampa Police detectives said they haven't been able to determine whether this was a hate crime but it's one of the many possibilities they're investigating.

"To have something that would qualify as a hate crime, first of all, we would need to know who did it, we'd need to know something about the motive and a little bit more about exactly what happened," said TPD spokesperson Steve Hegarty.

Lampkins' death comes about two weeks after another gay man, Bill Denham, was beaten to death and left in the street by three pepole in Seminole Heights; there haven't been any arrests. At this point, there's no way to tell if the crimes are related.

Lampkins' family, meawhile, is just hoping to justice and plans to remember Dontae for who he was.

"He was loved by so, so many people," Carlton said. "We're going to celebrate him. We're going to celebrate him. As he would say, 'turn up!'"

Lampkins was last seen wearing a dark blue sweat suit. Anyone with information should call Tampa Police  at 813-231-6130, or Crime Stoppers, which is offering a $3,000 reward for information that leads to an arrest.

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