SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A local gay couple said they were targeted on Pride weekend in midtown Sacramento's LGBTQ friendly Lavender Heights district and that the vicious attack was caught on camera.
“I’m just hoping for justice. I’m hoping there is someone out there who can help identify who these people are,” said Derek, one of the victims.
The couple spoke with ABC10, however they won't be fully identified due to the search for suspect continuing.
“It’s scary to think about going out at night to a restaurant or for a drink and not feeling comfortable in the city you are living in,” Derek said.
The couple said this started when a customer at Kiki’s Chicken Place on J Street threw a cigarette on the ground.
"I don’t like litter bugs," Jose said. "So I went and picked it up and threw it away inside the restaurant. He started approaching me with a very intimidating attitude. He started telling me if I had a problem to let him know because he can go ahead and smoke us both.”
Things escalated with gay slurs being thrown around and the customer, seen on video provided by the couple, punching Derek in the face.
Jose is seen jumping up and fighting back. He ended up covered in blood with scratches, bruises and a broken nose. The couple said they filed a police report after the incident on Friday only to learn the case was suspended days later for so-called lack of evidence.
“I’m mostly upset at Sac PD (Sacramento Police Department) at the moment, due to the fact that there are plenty of leads. I would like more attention from Sac PD. I would like them to re-open the case and do something about it,” Jose said.
Police confirmed this investigation was briefly closed but was since reopened. Police said the case will be investigated by detectives assigned to the Bias Crimes Task Force.
"As a department, we take all allegations of bias-related crime seriously and remain committed to conducting a comprehensive investigation into this incident," Sacramento Police Department told ABC10 in a statement.
Sacramento Police Chief Kathy Lester called the couple tonight to speak to them directly. Anyone with information on this case can call Sacramento Police Department.