Two gay men in New York City say they were attacked and injured by two men who swung a large stick at them while yelling anti-gay slurs.
Harmony Vuitton and Eric Ortiz says they were standing in front of a smoke shop on Ocean Avenue in Brooklyn on Friday when they were approached by two men who began taunting them. Vuitton told WABC New York that the men seemed “infuriated with my existence.”
“They were like, look at this ***** ****** and homophobic slurs such as that,” said Vuitton, who has rainbow-colored braids and a nose piercing.
The two men then became violent, with one of the attackers picking up a long stick and swimming it at Vuitton and Ortiz.
“The first time he swung and I blocked it with my hand,” Ortiz said, noting that he developed a bruise at the spot where the stick hit him.
Vuitton was hit by the stick which left a deep cut on his cheek, requiring four stitches.
Vuitton says he’s “exhausted” by the attack, calling it “mentally traumatizing.” But he said the attack has also inspired him to stand up for himself and other LGBTQ people, rather than cower in fear.
“It makes me feel motivated to raise awareness and to get the message out that we are here and we aren’t going anywhere,” he said.
He noted that he had seen the two men in his neighborhood before, but Friday’s incident marked the first time they had been violent. Currently, both men are at large, and no arrests have been made in the alleged assault.
Police are still searching for the two suspects. Anyone with information about the incident can call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline and leave a tip at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477), or 1-888-57-PISTA (74782) for Spanish.
The public can also submit confidential tips by logging onto the CrimeStoppers website or by sending a direct message to @NYPDTips on Twitter.
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