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Springfield man charged with federal hate crime after violent assault on gay victim

Brian Bull
The Wayne Morse Federal Courthouse in Eugene, Oregon.

Warning: This article has descriptions of violence some readers may find upsetting.

A Springfield man has been charged with a federal hate crime for targeting and brutally assaulting a gay man he contacted through social media.

A criminal complaint filed by an FBI special agent says Daniel Andrew McGee used the Grindr dating app to arrange a meeting with his victim.

Upon entering the man’s apartment on July 5th, McGee beat him severely with a club. Eugene Police responded to calls of neighbors hearing screams, where they found the victim and McGee, covered in blood.

The victim was taken to a hospital with life-threatening injuries, and a portion of his scalp was missing.

McGee appeared unharmed, and told EPD officers that he only had a hurt finger and was covered in the victim’s blood. He said he went to the man’s apartment because he knew that demons would be there, and that he intended to slay his victim because he was a demon.

An investigation showed McGee viewed graphic, anti-gay attack videos, and also researched ways to get away with murder before the encounter. A bag found by the victim after returning from the hospital contained several knives, plastic bags, and an abrasive bathroom cleaning detergent.

The victim told investigators that McGee exchanged messages via Grindr under the screen name, “str8 curious”, and then coordinated their in-person meeting through Snapchat. McGee got his victim to confirm that they would be alone.

According to the criminal complaint, McGee’s parents were interviewed by a detective on July 6th, the day after the assault. Both said their son had autism and also expressed surprise that he would attack anyone. While the father said he’d never heard his son express homophobic sentiments, the mother said her son had voiced the opinion that being gay was “gross” for years. She also remembered a time when her son said he wanted to move to Russia because they do not allow gay people there.

Furthermore, investigators discovered emails and web activity on McGee’s digital devices that revealed online orders for a black wig and a tire thumper, a form of club used by truckers to gauge tire pressure. A subpoena response from Amazon.com confirmed that McGee ordered the tire thumper and wig on or around June 16, less than three weeks before the assault. The items were shipped to McGee at his home in Springfield, Oregon. McGee wore the wig and used the tire thumper as a weapon on the night of the assault.

The FBI arrested McGee Monday (11/15), and he made his initial appearance before a U.S. Magistrate Judge. The complaint alleges McGee planned to kill his victim, and he’s been detained until further court proceedings.

In a release, the U.S. Attorney's Office - District of Oregon says a criminal complaint is only an accusation of a crime, and a defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

Copyright @2021, KLCC.

Brian Bull joined the KLCC News Team in June 2016. In his 25+ years as a public media journalist, he's worked at NPR, Twin Cities Public Television, South Dakota Public Broadcasting, Wisconsin Public Radio, and ideastream in Cleveland. His reporting has netted dozens of accolades, including four national Edward R. Murrow Awards (19 regional), the Ohio Associated Press' Best Reporter Award, Best Radio Reporter from the Native American Journalists Association, and the PRNDI/NEFE Award for Excellence in Consumer Finance Reporting.