Two men believe they were attacked by a stranger while ordering pizza in an Austin, Texas, restaurant because they are gay, ABC’s Texas affiliate KVUE reported.
The incident occurred during the city’s Pride celebration last Friday. Nick Soret and a friend from Houston told authorities that a man beat them while they were ordering food at Ropollo’s Pizza.
"Some guy next to me tells me, ’What are you looking at?’ and I’m like, ’I’m not looking at you,’" Soret told the TV station. "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?’"
Soret went on to say that the man then punched his friend in the face, which caused blood to spew out of his mouth.
"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. Soret was left with a cut lip and bruises on his arm. After spending 12 hours in the hospital, he found out that his friend had a fractured jaw and will most likely have to have oral surgery.
He told KVUE that he definitely believes he and his friend were attacked because of their sexual identity.
"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.
The police are currently were reported to be optimistic that they will catch the attacker. Several people apparently witnessed the incident, and the pizza parlor has a security camera. If the perpetrator is caught, he could be charged with aggravated assault.
"It was done just out of meaness and I think prejudice," Soret said. "It was unprovoked. We did not provoke him, we did not engage him. We didn’t do anything." He added that he no longer feels safe in Austin, especially in the area where the incident happened, despite having lived in the city for two decades.
Austin, the state capital and the home of the giant University of Texas, has long been known as the most gay-friendly large city in the Lone Star State. In a city profile in NoiZe Magazine pointed out, Austin has a strong, vocal and politically powerful gay community.
The 2010 national census ranked Austin as the seventh gayest city in the country, according to the University of California’s Williams Institute.