A peaceful protest and candlelight vigil to remember Lance Sutherland drew a crowd of about 100 to the parking lot of the Woodward Bar & Grill, the oldest gay bar in Detroit, on Thursday night. Sutherland was shot and killed just outside the bar at around 3 a.m. Wednesday morning.
Friends and family remembered him as a kind and caring soul, and one who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.
“My son was the most beautiful person ever in this world,” said Garneisha Buford, Sutherland’s mother. “He would give anything to anybody. He didn’t even have to know you. I couldn’t ask for a more beautiful child.”
Buford said her son, who had just opened Elite Night Life Concierge and Event Planning, an event planning business, had a bright future ahead of him before the shooting.
“He was the ‘next millionaire,’ in case you didn’t know. He was the next millionaire. My baby represented fineness at its best.”
Ka’Juan “KHAOS” Hill, one of the vigil’s organizers and a friend of Sutherland’s, called on the Woodward to increase security procedures, a measure bar manager Jeff Smith has already promised.
“We want our voices to be heard,” said Hill. “We come here all the time. We come here for a good time, and tonight we’re coming here for not such a good time. Jeff has already agreed to enhance the security system because real security saves lives. We shouldn’t have to come here in this type of way. We come here to get away, to have a drink and escape what’s going on.”
In addition to enhancing security, Smith has promised $5,000 to Sutherland’s family toward funeral expenses. The bar will also present a benefit show on Tuesday, Oct. 5 with proceeds again going to the family.
“I feel like [the protest] went great,” Hill told Pride Source the morning after. “Our voices were heard; and Jeff donated $5,000 toward the funeral and offered to have a benefit show. I’m happy to have been able to help in the way that I did. … I hate that someone lost their life and I hope we can all move better together as a community. Last night was a beautiful, peaceful event. Rest in Peace to Lance.”
Pride Source will update our developing story about the killing as more details come to light.