Police in Baltimore are investigating a shooting which left a gay photographer dead and an LGBT community activist in a coma.

40-year-old Joseph Alexander ‘Alex’ Ulrich and 56-year-old Lawrence Peterson were standing on the steps of a downtown building last week when the shooting occured. The men were taken to Johns Hopkins Hospital where Ulrich later died – Mr Peterson is still in a coma.

Police have not yet identified any potential suspects, and according to the Washington Blade, Anthony Giuglielmi of the Baltimore Police Department said it appeared so far that the sexuality of the victims was not a factor in the shooting and it is currently not being treated as a hate crime.

A friend of Mr Ulrich said: “Knowing [Alex] was just like being inside of joy. He was just the most friendly person, so very sweet and kind. He knew how to have a good time and he enjoyed a good laugh. We honestly have spent 20 years laughing hysterically together, which has been quite wonderful.”

He added that Mr Ulrich had exhibited four photographs just before he died and had been for a while working towards being a full-time photographer: “He had been dreaming for years and years of moving to Baltimore and was finally able to do it and actually started to have all those things happen for him. It makes it that much more bittersweet for all of us.”

A memorial for the two men took place in Smithsburg on Wednesday night.