Two men attacked downtown, believe they were targeted for being gay

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by ASHLEY GOUDEAU / KVUE News and Photojournalist JUSTIN TERRY

Bio | Email | Follow: @AshleyG_KVUE

kvue.com

Posted on September 22, 2012 at 4:41 PM

Updated Tuesday, Sep 25 at 7:51 AM

AUSTIN -- The city showed its pride for the gay, lesbian and transgender communities this weekend during the annual Austin Pride celebration, but there is a dark shadow cast over Pride festivities. Friday night two men were attacked in downtown as they walked toward 4th Street, and they believe it was because they are gay.

Friday night, Nick Soret and a friend from Houston were headed to 4th Street to go out, when they stopped for a slice of pizza at Ropollo's trailer near 4th and Colorado. 

"Some guy next to me tells me, 'What are you looking at?' and I'm like, 'I'm not looking at you,'" said Soret. He thought the confrontation was over, but he was wrong.  

"My order was ready, I picked up my slice of pizza, he knocked it over onto me. It burned my arm, and then my friend tells him, 'What are you doing? Why are you doing that to my friend, you know you burned him.' And then this guy just hauled off and punched him right in the face, and blood started coming out of his mouth; it was gushing everywhere."

Soret says the man then attacked him, busting his lip and bruising his arms before taking off. Soret says he believes the man attacked them because he and his friend are gay.

"He thought I was checking him out, or he thought I was looking at him and so for that, he knocked all my friend's teeth out. He punched me in the face," Soret said.

Austin police say they are investigating the incident. Because there were so many people out Friday night and because there is a camera on the Ropollo's Pizza trailer, they are hoping they will be able to catch the man responsible. He could be facing charges of aggravated assault.

"It was done just out of meaness, and I think prejudice. It was unprovoked. We did not provoke him, we did not engage him. We didn't do anything," Soret said.

Soret has lived in Austin for 20 years. He says his sense of security is gone now, and he no longer feels safe going to 4th Street.

After spending nearly 12 hours in the hospital, Soret's friend learned he has a fractured jaw and will likely have to undergo oral surgery. 

Anyone with information on the attack should call police.

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