Man attacked by person he met on dating app sends warning after ordeal | 'You can end up hurt'

Jessica Willey Image
Saturday, September 23, 2023
Man attacked for being gay in Colombia feels targeted in US too
A man was violently attacked and robbed by another man whom he met on the Grindr dating app after fleeing from Colombia due to his sexuality.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- One of eight victims of a man accused in a violent crime spree that utilized dating apps like Tinder and Grindr is speaking out.

The 24-year-old asked to remain anonymous for his safety.

"I hope he is punished for all the victims," he said. "They were really hurt."

Warren O'neal Johnson, 20, is charged with six aggravated robberies and two robberies causing bodily injury.

Court records show that most of the attacks happened on Barren Springs Drive in north Harris County over three days in March. He was arrested in June and recently indicted.

Investigators believe Johnson and a 16-year-old accomplice attacked an Uber driver, a Door Dasher, and men they met on dating apps like Tinder and Grindr. Sometimes, they reportedly used a gun, records state. Other times, they used a knife.

The anonymous victim said he first connected with Johnson on Grindr and met him at a Galleria-area hotel in June. He thought they were going to go out.

Instead, he was robbed at knifepoint of his clothes, phone, and computer, and Johnson, the victim said, even tried to take his car. He sustained a cut on his arm, trying to get away.

The victim described the situation as "sad." He said he was hospitalized after an attack in his home country of Colombia for being gay and felt he was targeted in the U.S. for the same reason.

Grindr advertises as the "world's largest social networking app for LGBTQ+" people.

During Johnson's first court appearance, the hearing officer shared similar concerns.

"It appears, based on the allegations, that the defendant could possibly be targeting certain populations, which gives the court concern," she said.

The victim encourages people to be extra cautious when meeting people from dating apps in person.

"They may not be telling the whole truth," he said. "You can end up hurt."

Johnson, who has bonds totaling $400,000, remains in the Harris County Jail.

He is expected in court on Monday, Sept. 25.