CARROLL COUNTY, Ga. — A Carroll County man told Channel 2 Action News that he believes he was the target of a hate crime.
Chris Staples said someone threw a rock through his window with a piece of paper attached that was covered in anti-gay slurs. Then hours later, he woke up to flames filling his bedroom. Officials said officers are investigating the incident as an arson.
Channel 2 Action News reporter Amanda Cook spoke with Staples and his mother about the Sunday fire.
“We are just lost,” said Staples’ mother, who did not want to be identified.
His mother said at 5:30 a.m. Sunday she heard a commotion and saw fire coming from her son’s house next door. She said she ran out to find Staples lying in the yard. She said she thought he was dead.
“There are no words to describe what happened and how I felt as his mom,” she said.
She said she also believes the fire was intentionally set because her 40-year-old son is gay. She said the proof is the rock that was thrown through Staples’ window Saturday night.
“There was a note attached to the rock with some of the meanest, hateful words that could come out of a person’s mouth,” she said.
She said her son has been out of the closet for 20 years. She said Staples is sick, unable to work and rarely, if ever, leaves his house which makes it harder for her to understand the reasoning behind the act.
“This is the first time I’ve dealt with anything of this nature in 16 years,” said Capt. Shane Taylor of the Carroll County Sheriff’s Office.
“I can’t believe anyone would have such hatred in their heart as to do somebody like that, especially when they don’t even know him. They don’t know him,” she said.
Carroll County officials continue to investigate.
Staples is OK.