CENTENNIAL, Colo. — An Aurora man who shot his gender-fluid neighbor in a hate crime has been sentenced to 16 years in prison.

According to a release from the Arapahoe County District Attorney's office, a jury convicted 41-year-old Jonathan William Hultquist in September of attempted second-degree murder, first-degree assault and a bias-motivated crime for shooting and seriously injuring his 54-year-old neighbor. He was sentenced Monday.

The release said neighbors were having a block party in a town home complex at East Ford Circle and East Tennessee Avenue in July 2018. Hultquist was driving too fast and squealed his tires as he drove up and parked, prompting some of his neighbors to confront him and tell him to be more careful with children around. He appeared to get angry and went into his house, the DA said.

When he came back out, he saw his gender-fluid neighbor and began hurling insults, the release said. Witnesses described Hultquist as baiting, antagonizing and taunting the neighbor, who was using a male name and wearing a long wig, a dress and high heels.

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The hosts of the party put down the garage door with the neighbor inside in an effort to separate Hultquist and the neighbor, who called 911 to report an attack. The release said the neighbor then left the garage to go home carrying a box cutter.

When Hultquist saw the neighbor, he ran into his house and came back outside with a handgun. The release said the two moved out into the street, where Hultquist fired one shot at the neighbor from about 20 feet away. The neighbor then fell to the ground in the middle of the street.

Arriving Aurora police officers were only feet away from the neighbor when the shot was fired, according to the release, and they rendered first aid.

The release said the neighbor was shot in the midsection, and the bullet lodged in the spine. They lost a kidney and part of the colon and intestines. Several vertebrae had to be fused, and the bullet left permanent nerve damage.

“This victim was not threatening anyone that night,” prosecutor Garrik Storgaard told the judge. Hultquist “chose the victim because he did not like who the victim is. His words and actions reveal his bigotry and complete intolerance. Instilling fear in people because of their beliefs must be condemned. His actions deserve a harsh sentence.” 

“Hatred of a person based on their identity will never provide a justification for such outrageous, violent and potentially lethal behavior. This bigoted conduct is criminal, beneath the standards of our community, and it will not be tolerated by my office,” added District Attorney George Brauchler. “Where there is fear, there is no freedom. All are protected by our laws. This is why we build prisons.” 

Gender-fluid means a person's gender identity is not fixed.

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