Two gay men were violently attacked and beaten by five unidentified suspects who shouted anti-gay slurs on Sunday, Sept. 16 in Washington D.C. less than two blocks from the Third District D.C. Police Station.
Four men and one woman who jumped out of one of two vehicles that had been driving past the men at 16th Street, New Hampshire Avenue, and U Street, N.W. intersect between 9:30 p.m. and 9:45 p.m.
One of the victims was knocked unconscious and was “bleeding profusely from the face.” He was taken by ambulance to Howard University Hospital. The second victim suffered less serious injuries to his face and head that didn’t require hospitalization.
The victims, William Southern of Laurel, Md., and Robbie Barletta of D.C., identified themselves on social media postings in which they described what they called a harrowing experience. In a Facebook posting, Barletta said the attack occurred while they were walking home from an event near Dupont Circle organized by the Stonewall Kickball LGBT sports league.
“Everything was and is a blur…but I cannot forget the confusion, fear, and sadness I felt in this moment,” Barletta wrote in his posting. “I was lucky to walk away with a huge headache and a black eye,” he wrote, adding that he and Southern plan to take positive action to draw attention to hate crimes.
“I will never stop being gay. I will never feel ashamed of who I am,” Southern wrote in a posting on Instagram. “Most importantly, I will never let anyone around me feel like less of a person simply because of who they are!”
DC Police are currently looking for the five suspects, a black female, and 4 black males in connection to the hate crime.