US: Noth Carolina man dies after being set on fire by gay hook-up

PinkNews logo on a pink background surrounded by illustrated line drawings of a rainbow, pride flag, unicorn and more.

A man from North Carolina has passed away, after he was set on fire by a man he met in a gay club.

46-year-old gay veteran Stephen Patrick White, who served in Iraq, reportedly met 26-year-old Garry Joseph Gupton in the gay Chemistry Nightclub on November 9.


The pair hit it off and left to go to a nearby hotel – but police say Mr White was then assaulted by Gupton, who robbed him, beat him and set him on fire.

Mr White was found naked, with burns over 52 percent of his body, and was rushed to hospital by emergency services

The man’s partner Alex Teal – who says the pair were on a break when the incident took place – told press that Mr White had had both of his arms amputated in an attempt to mitigate the damage from the burns, but succumbed to his injuries yesterday afternoon.

Gupton, who was originally charged with aggravated assault with intent to kill, is now facing a charge of first-degree murder, police confirmed – though it is still not being treated as a hate crime.

Greensboro Police spokesperson Susan Danielsen said: “We believe this was a consensual encounter between the two of them, and at some point Mr. Gupton began acting incredibly irrational.”

Towleroad notes that Gupton’s Facebook page claims he is interested in only women.


Drew Wofford – the owner of the nightclub where the pair met, had organised a benefit to pay for Mr White’s care – but the proceeds will now go to support his family.

A statement said: “With a very heavy heart I write this message, Steven has passed away.

“Tonight’s fundraiser will continue and we will celebrate the life and great man Steven was. All money raised will be donated to his family to cover expenses.”