A gay couple was attacked shortly after the Miami Beach Gay Pride Parade this past Sunday.
Rene Chalarca and Dimitri Lugonov were just leaving the restroom in Lumus Park at around 7:45 pm on April 8. In interviews given to the press, they shared they had been holding hands and hugged. Moments later, four men violently attacked them.
“They start to hit us, like beating us, hard,” said Charlarca.
“It was, like, instant. I got hit, and they knocked me out,” said Logunov.
They continued to beat on Logunov. “I was on the ground, they started beating me up.”
Chalarca tried to defend Logunov but he quickly became the target of physical violence. “Then they start kicking me and punching me, without a reason.”
At some point, a bystander, Helmut Muller, tried to help them.
He was in close proximity to the bathroom and, when he tried to intervene, he was down onto the ground, causing the back of his head was cut, leaving a pool of blood on the sidewalk. Later, he was brought to the hospital and received four stitches.
Chalarca and Lugonov claim cops didn’t take the incident serious at first. When they urged police to go after the attackers, who were still in their line of site, the cops allegedly responded with, “We won’t chase them, they are far.”
Lugonov said he was told by a female officer to “stop the drama, shut the f– up” and another said to “put ice on your face at home and you’ll be alright.”
Both Chalarca and Lugonov suffered cuts and bruises to their faces. They were treated by first responders on the scene. Paramedics said they would be fine.
But the men were not so sure.
Concerned about their situation, they decided to go to the hospital. That’s when they found out that Chalarca had a broken tear duct. He may require surgery.
Apparently, they are still suffering physically from the attack. “My head is killing me,” Chalarca said, “and my neck, I can’t even turn my head.”
Yesterday, they paid a visit to the LGBT Visitor Center in Miami Beach to speak with LGBT-friendly police officers.
— Jamie Guirola (@jamieNBC6) April 10, 2018
“They were very nice and helpful,” Logunov told South Florida Gay News. “Then we met with the detective, who leads our case, and he was nice and professional as well. Today’s experience with the police was much better.”
Cops have released video of the attack, hoping to identify attackers. The video shows four men walking together who police described as Hispanic white males between the ages of 19 and 24.
Police officials revealed the suspects used an anti-gay slur. “The four subjects actually made a derogatory, anti-gay slur in Spanish to the victims,” said Miami Beach Police spokesperson Ernesto Rodriguez.
One of the men told local NBC 6 News that he feels what happened was a hate crime. “The way that we were dressed and everything, we were together. For me it’s, yes, a hate crime,” Chalarca said.
Muller also shared that he believes it was a hate crime.
“I want them to be proud for who they are and to know there’s people out there that care about gay people,” he said. “It doesn’t matter. I thought I was doing the right thing. I was trying, I didn’t do enough.”
UPDATE 5:20 PM CST:
Suspects turn themselves into police. See report in Miami Herald