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Man shouted gay slur moments before gunning down woman in front of her girlfriend in Circle K parking lot: Police

Bradley Jaacob Stanford and Akira Ross (Williamson County Sheriff's Office and KVUE screenshot)

Bradley Jacob Stanford and Akira Ross (Williamson County Sheriff’s Office and KVUE screenshot)

A 23-year-old man in Texas has been arrested for allegedly shouting an anti-gay slur before shooting and killing a 24-year-old gay woman whom he did not know in the parking lot of a gas station. Bradley Jacob Stanford was taken into custody earlier this month and charged with one count of murder in the slaying of Akira Ross, court records reviewed by Law&Crime show.

According to a probable cause affidavit, officers with the Cedar Park Police Department at about 10 p.m. on June 2, 2023, responded to a call regarding a reported shooting at the Circle K convenience store located in the 12000 block of Ranch Road 620 North in Cedar Park, in the area of Austin.

Upon arriving at the scene, first responders say they observed a black Nissan sedan at one of the pumps. Next to the car they found Ross, who was “lying on her back in a pool of dark red blood.” Williamson County Emergency Medical Services arrived a short while later and at 10:05 p.m. pronounced Ross dead.

Surveillance camera footage showed a newer model Chevy Malibu, allegedly driven by Stanford, enter the gas station at 9:42 p.m. and parks. Stanford entered the store and came out less than two minutes later. Police say he can be seen returning to his car, grabbing something from inside, and tucking it into the waistband of his shorts.

The Nissan pulls into the lot immediately after and stops two gas islands away from Stanford’s car. When they arrived at the gas station, Ross and her girlfriend were in the midst of a minor tiff over a food order, a third woman in the vehicle with them told police. That woman also said she believed Ross’ argument with her girlfriend somehow got Stanford’s attention.

Ross’ girlfriend went into the store while Ross stood outside the driver’s side door. Stanford can be seen walking over to Ross and the two appeared “to have an exchange of words,” police wrote. Ross, who appeared “agitated” following the exchange, then went into the store.

The third person in Ross’ vehicle told investigators that she kept an eye on Stanford because he “looked suspicious,” and she saw him go back to his car and start “digging around” for something. She said he appeared to be “arming himself with a gun,” so she sent a text message to Ross’ girlfriend saying, “Yo tell the cash person this man got a gun and trying to get KB (Ross).” About three minutes later, Ross exited the store and returned to her vehicle.

Ross’ girlfriend told police that when Ross walked into the store, she said that Stanford was “waving his gun around” in the parking lot. That’s when the girlfriend got the text telling the cashier to call the police. Ross then exited the store and had another exchange with Stanford.

“Stanford walked over to Ross and was standing at the front of her car. Stanford then acted like he was going to walk back to his vehicle, but instead walked to the rear or Ross’s vehicle,” the affidavit states. “[The witness] heard Stanford yell, ‘f—-t’ and fire three rounds. The male then ran towards his car and drove away.”

Police arrested Stanford at an apartment complex shortly after the shooting. He was charged with murder and his bond was set at $1 million. It was not clear from court records whether Stanford had retained an attorney.

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Jerry Lambe is a journalist at Law&Crime. He is a graduate of Georgetown University and New York Law School and previously worked in financial securities compliance and Civil Rights employment law.