Ellen Goldberg, NBC 5 News
Police are searching for five men who attacked a gay couple in northeast Dallas. The attackers shouted anti-gay slurs at the victims and beat one of the victims with baseball bats.
Dallas police classified a brutal attack that sent two men to the hospital as a hate crime.
The couple was attacked early Tuesday morning near Forest Lane and Audelia Road in northeast Dallas. Police said the victims were walking to a corner store at about 2 a.m. when five men in a car pulled up alongside them and shouted anti-gay slurs.
"The language used against the victims indicated they were motivated by the perception that they were gay," said Cece Cobb, CEO of the Resource Center of Dallas, one of the primary nonprofit GLBT organizations in North Texas.
Investigators said two of the attackers got out of the car with baseball bats, hitting one of the victims at least four times in the head and knocking him unconscious for a short time. The other victim tried to fight back and got caught in the car's passenger side door as the attackers sped away.
"It makes me very sad, very sad," said a friend of the victims, who asked not to be identified for all of their safety. "I hate it for my friends to be in so much pain."
The friend, who is taking care of the victims, said he had to get eight staples in his head. The other victim has bruises covering his face and scabs down his arms and legs.
"It was because they were gay," the friend said.
"Hatred and discrimination still exist, and this is an example that unfortunately we live with that in our lives," Cobb said.
Dallas police are looking for a dark, four-door sedan, possibly a Buick, with tinted windows and 24-inch rims.
Because police have classified it as a hate crime, it carries much stiffer penalties.