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Roanoke gay bar remembers shooting 16 years later

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Roanoke gay bar remembers shooting 16 years later

Roanoke gay bar remembers shooting 16 years later

Thursday marks 16 years since a man opened fire on a Roanoke gay bar, killing one and hurting six others.

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Roanoke gay bar remembers shooting 16 years later

16 years since a man opened fire on a roanoke gay bar, killing one and hurting six others.

But the l-g-b-t-q advocates say there's been so much progress since then.

Wdbj-7's sara machi checked in with local advocates who say they're still looking forward.

She joins us live from the scene of the shooting... backstreet cafe on salem avenue.

Sara... how are things there?

Melissa, like any bar anywhere in america.

There are reminders of what happened... but you'd have to look for them.

At the end of the backstreet's bar... an anonymous gift.

Every anniversary, someone drops off the same yellow mums with the same message... "danny overstreet, never forget, never again.

Never."

It's a reminder of shooting here sixteen years ago... and the man killed in the gunfire.

"it's that time.

It's that time."

Manager deanna marcin says she's tried to move the bar past its tragic history by opening their doors to a wider crowd.

"senseless acts of violence happen all over america for all different reasons.

Roanoke and backstreet had there's.

So we should do our darndest to try and inform and educate, and stop the next one."

"there's all kinds of support ofr the lgbt community that didn't use to be there."

Roanoke diversity center's josh olinger notes all the advances -- marriage equality nationwide and record turnout at roanoke's pride this month --- but there's still room for improvement.

"there are still some people in our community that are suffereing, a lot of peopel in the small towns aroudn roanoke still get bullied, a lot of people in roanoke get bullied.

A lot of trans people can't dress the way they want.

Can't be who they are."

At backstreet, the mums are in the window, a somber reminder for anyone who knows to look for them and a simple flower to those who don't.

Ronald gay was convicted and sentenced for the shooting 16 years ago.

He's serving four back-to-back life sentences.

Today there are still obviously major issues for the lgbtq community... violence like at the pulse nightclub in orlando... the so- called "bathroom bill" in north carolina... melissa... at least for marcin... she says the more things change... the more they stay the same.

Right




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