A vicious attack on a gay man at a high-school-graduation party near Duluth, Minnesota, has led to at least two arrests, reports the Duluth News Tribune.
Max Pelofske, 21, was attending a party Saturday night in an abandoned gravel pit in New Independence Township, where his friend’s sister was celebrating her upcoming graduation. Pelofske was only there for a few minutes when an unidentified teen approached him:
“He told me to look him in the eyes, and I was really confused because I’d never seen the guy before,” Pelofske told the News Tribune. “He asked me: ‘Are you gay?’ And I said, ‘Yes. Is that OK?’ ”
After that, Pelofske said he was struck in the head by a flying beer can, and a crowd of boys surrounded him, threw him to the ground and began punching and kicking him.
“I tried to get up, but I kept getting knocked back down,” said Pelofske, who described his alleged assailants as “all laughing and smiling.”
“They were trying to throw me into the fire,” he said.
Johnson said at least nine boys were involved in the attack.
“I thought they were going to kill him,” said Kelly Johnson, who was also at the party. “I was screaming, ‘Just let us leave!’ ”
Pelofske was released from the hospital Sunday morning with a swollen face, bruised ribs and footmarks all over his back and legs. “I’ve been jumped before,” he told the Tribune, “but nothing like this has ever happened to me.”
Hate-crime charges may be filed after the suspects are arraigned, though the 19-year-old is already being charged with fourth-degree assault.
A Facebook page has been created and a rally was planned for Monday afternoon to offer a “healing space for Max and his family, and to provide support for all members of the GLBTAQI community throughout the Twin Ports.”