19-year-old Joshua Esskew was attacked at the Spot Convenience Store Saturday morning by a group of at least eight men.
The attack was caught ion the convenience stores parking lot security cameras.
Joshua believes he was targeted for the attack because he is a gay.
Joshua he was at the gas station with a friend, getting a drink, when the attack happened. Someone yelled a homosexual slur at him and he turned around and asked if they were talking to him. When he turned back around, he says someone hit him in the back of the head with a 40-ounce malt liquor bottle. Joshua defended himself from his attacker, and several other men ran to the fight and joined in the attack.
WBTV spoke with Lieutenant Mike Baker with the York County Sheriff’s Office about the attack. “In South Carolina, we do not have an enhancement of penalties for what might be deemed a ‘hate crime’,” Baker told WBTV on Friday. “We are investigating this as the very serious and violent assault that it was.”
Sure looks like a hate crime to me. What the hell is the use of the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act if its not used to it fullest?