Tristan Perry and Spencer Deehring are a gay Texas couple who say they were targeted and attacked in downtown Austin.
The couple was walking from a nightclub after a friend’s birthday party when they were attacked, KXAN reports.
Perry told the news station that a man walked passed them and called them a homophobic slur. Deehring says he retorted with something like “I’m sorry I couldn’t hear you.”
The couple said the man called his friends over and began to follow the couple to their car. After yelling more expletives at them, one of the men punched Perry in the face, they said. Three other men joined in the attack.
Both Perry and Deehring were hospitalized after the attack.
Police are investigating the assault as a hate crime.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Tristan Perry & Spencer Deehring Say They Were Called a Slur
Perry and Deehring told KXAN that the attack happened after 2 am on Saturday when they were walking to their car from Rain night club after a friend’s birthday party.
“We weren’t acting crazy, we weren’t drinking, we were just walking back to our car after we had a great night with our friends,” Perry told KXAN.
Deehring said that a man called them a homophobic slur as he walked past them.
“I hate that word,” Perry added. “I’m not going to have someone walk all over me, but that also doesn’t warrant getting punched in the face or having a broken nose.”
Deehring said he said something to the man like, “I’m sorry I couldn’t hear you.”
That’s when Deehring said the man called over a group of friends and the group followed the couple to their car.
“They started following behind us pretty closely yelling every expletive you can think of,” Deehring said. “The last thing I said to one of the guys before they attacked both of us was like, ‘I don’t have anything more to say to you guys, we’re just going home, leave us alone.'”
2. Perry & Deehring Say The Men Attacked Them
Deehring said that one of the men punched Perry in the face, breaking his nose and causing him to drop to the ground. Two other men hit Perry while he was down and another man kicked him in the head, Deehring said.
“Tristan took the first punch directly to his face, and that is what broke his nose,” Deehring said. “He took two or three more punches, and then he was down on the ground motionless, and he took a very hard kick to the back of the head.”
Deehring said he tried to tackle the men.
“That was my first reaction, was to stop them from kicking him because he couldn’t receive one more blow to the head or he may well have been dead,” he said.
The men beat Deehring and caused him to lose consciousness.
A bystander called 911 and both men were taken to the hospital.
“If the bystander had not been there [the attackers] may have continued, it may have been much worse,” Deehring said.
3. Perry Suffered Broken Nose, Concussion, & Internal Bleeding
Deehring suffered a concussion in the attack as well as lacerations on his forehead, KXAN reported.
Perry suffered a broken nose, “minor” internal bleeding, chipped teeth, and lacerations on his head, lip, and cheeks.
“If he wasn’t there I don’t know that I would still be here today,” Perry said of Deehring.
4. Police Investigating Attack as a Hate Crime
Deehring said he shared what happened to them on Facebook, which was the first time he had come out to his loved ones about his sexuality.
He said he believes they were targeted because they were holding hands.
“We want people to understand that it is possible for this to happen, it’s not something where you could say its 2019, this doesn’t happen anymore, we are living proof of it,” Deehring said.
“It shouldn’t happen to anyone else, and it breaks my heart that it’s probably going to [keep happening] until these guys are caught,” Perry said. “Living in Corpus Christi and moving to Austin, I thought, ‘Oh everyone is going to be so open-minded.’ I think that a lot of people think that and it’s overlooked that this could happen to anybody, anywhere, anytime.”
Austin police are investigating the attack as a hate crime, KXAN reported.
Police said one suspect is “described as a Hispanic male, wearing a blue shirt with white stripes (polo style). The other suspect is described as a White male with no shirt.”
5. Perry & Deehring Start GoFundMe to Raise Money for Medical Expenses
Deehring and Perry have set up a GoFundMe campaign to raise money for their medical expenses. Within two days, they raised more than $18,000 after starting out with a $4,000 goal.
The page says:
On Friday evening into early Saturday morning my boyfriend and I were victims of a hate crime. We were called “faggots” and brutally kicked & beaten.
I suffered a concussion and severe lacerations, my boyfriend suffered a broken nose, stitches in his forehead and a major concussion with minor internal bleeding.
Fortunately when a bystander saw what happened they were able to call 911 and we were able to get transported to a local medical center. Today I ask for your help with the burden we have been given of medical expenses related to this experience. Both of us were transported in an ambulance and given emergency trauma care at a local hospital.
Due to this we expect our bills to exceed the thousands of dollars due to receiving comprehensive radiological care. And we ask for your love and support during our difficult time. Any help you can give is immensely appreciated. Always spread love and positivity. End hate.
Austin police said Tuesday, “we ask that if anyone has information or was in the area of 3rd St. and Congress Ave. that you please call APD immediately (512) 974-9207 or submit tips via Crime Stoppers at 512-472-TIPS or text “Tip 103″ + your message to CRIMES or use the new Crime Stoppers App. You may remain anonymous. You can also submit tips by downloading APD’s mobile app, Austin PD, for free on iPhone and Android.”